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^•-.O-^^ 'A'-^ ' 

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"a reel of rainbow"; "the uttermost star"; "the silver shadow"; 

"the other su f of the hill"; "faces in the fire"; "mushrooms 

ON the mook"; "the golden milestone"; "mountains 

in the mi:i"; "the luggage or lifi," etc. 

"There still is need for martjn*s and apostles, 
There still are texts for never-dying song." 

— Lowell. 


THEi:".- ' YDr.K 




R J 920 L 

Copyright, 1920, by 



By Way of Introduction 5 

I. Thomas Chalmers' Text 7 

II, Martin Luther's Text i8 

III. Sir John Franklin's Text 28 

IV. Thomas Boston's Text 39 

V . Hugh Latimer's Text 51 

VI. John Bunyan's Text 62 

VII. Sir Walter Scott's Text 73 

VIII . Oliver Cromwell's Text 83 

IX . Francis Xavier's Text 92 

X. J. B. Cough's Text 99 

\ XI. John Knox's Text no 

XII. William Cowper's Text 120 

XIII. David Livingstone's Text 129 

« \ XIV. C. H. Spurgeon's Text 141 

-jc XV. Dean Stanley's Text 150 



XVI. William Carey's Text i6i 

XVII. James Hannington's Text 173 

XVIII. William Wilberforce's Text 185 

XIX. John Wesley's Text 198 

XX. William Knibb's Text 210 

XXI. John Newton's Text 222 

XXII. Andrew Fuller's Text 235 

XXIII. Stephen Grellet's Text 247 


Five and twenty years ago to-night I was 
solemnly ordained a minister of the everlasting 
gospel. A medley of most romantic circumstances 
conspired to fix indelibly upon my mind the pro- 
found impressions then created. I was a total 
stranger on this side of the planet : I had only 
landed in New Zealand a few hours before. Yet 
here I was among a people who were pleased to 
recognise in me their first minister! Trembling 
under the consciousness of my boyish inexperience, 
and shuddering under the awful burden imposed 
upon me by the Ordination Charge, I felt that life 
had suddenly become tremendous. I was doing 
business in deep waters! As a recognition of the 
goodness and mercy that have followed me all the 
days of my ministerial life, I desire, with inex- 
pressible thankfulness, to send forth this Bunch 
of Everlastings. 

Frank W. Boreham. 

Armadale, Mexbourne, Australia. 
March 15th, 1920. 



It was a mystery. Nobody in Kilmany could 
understand it. They were people of the flock 
and the field, men of the plough and the pas- 
ture. There were only about one hundred and 
fifty families scattered across the parish, and such 
social life as they enjoyed all circled round the 
kirk. They were all very fond of their young 
minister, and very proud of his distinguished 
academic attainments. Already, in his preaching, 
there were hints of that 'sublime thunder' that 
afterwards rolled through the world. In his later 
years it was said of him that Scotland shuddered 
beneath his billowy eloquence as a cathedral 
vibrates to the deep notes of the organ. He be- 
came, as Lord Rosebery has testified, the most 
illustrious Scotsman since John Knox. But his 
farmer-folk at Kilmany could not be expected to 
foresee all this. They felt that their minister was 
no ordinary man; yet there was one thing about 
him that puzzled every member of the congrega- 
tion. The drovers talked of it as they met each 
other on the long and lonely roads; the women 
discussed it as they waited outside the kirk whilst 


8 A Birnch of Everlastings 

their husbands harnessed up the horses; the 
farmers themselves referred to it wonderingly 
when they talked things over in the stockyards and 
the market-place. Mr. Chalmers was only twenty- 
three. He had matriculated at twelve; had become 
a divinity student at fifteen; and at nineteen had 
been licensed to preach. Now that, with much 
fear and trembling, he had settled at Kilmany, he 
made a really excellent minister. He has himself 
told us that, as he rode about his parish, his affec- 
tions flew before him. He loved to get to the 
firesides of the people, and he won from old and 
young their unstinted admiration, their confidence 
and their love. But for all that, the mystery 
remained. Briefly stated, it was this : Why did 
he persist in preaching to these decent, well- 
meaning and law-abiding Scottish farmers in a 
strain that implied that they ought all to be in 
gaol? Why, Sabbath after Sabbath, did he thun- 
der at them concerning the heinous wickedness 
of theft, of murder, and of adultery? After a hard 
week's work in field and stable, byre and dairy, 
these sturdy Scotsmen drove to the kirk at the 
sound of the Sabbath bell, only to find themselves 
rated by the minister as though they had spent 
the week in open shame! They filed into their 
family pews with their wives and their sons and 
their daughters, and were straightway charged 
with all the crimes in the calendar! Later on, the 
minister himself saw both the absurdity and the 

Thomas Chalmers' Text 9 

pity of it. It was, as he told the good people of 
Kilmany, part of his bitter self-reproach that, for 
the greater part of the time he spent among them, 
'I could expatiate only on the meanness of dis- 
honesty, on the villany of falsehood, on the 
despicable arts of calumny, in a word, upon all 
those deformities of character which awaken the 
natural indignation of the human heart against the 
pests and disturbers of human society.' Now and 
again, the brilliant and eloquent young preacher 
turned aside from this line of things in order to 
denounce the designs of Napoleon. But as the 
Fifeshire farmers saw no way in which the argu- 
ments of their minister were likely to come under 
the notice of the tyrant and turn him from his fell 
purpose of invading Britain, they were as much 
perplexed by these sermons as by the others. This 
kind of thing continued without a break from 1803 
until 181 1 ; and the parish stood bewildered. 


From 1803 until 181 1! But what of the four 
years that followed? For he remained at Kilmany 
until 181 5 — the year of Waterloo! Let me set a 
second picture beside the one I have already 
painted! Could any contrast be greater? The 
people were bewildered before : they were even 
more bewildered now! The minister was another 
man: the kirk was another place! During those 
closing years at Kilmany, Mr. Chalmers tJiijndered 

lo A Bunch of Everlastings 

against the grosser crimes no more. He never 
again held forth from his pulpit against the in- 
iquities of the Napoleonic programme. But every 
Sunday he had something fresh to say about the 
love of God, about the Cross of Christ, and about 
the way of salvation. Every Sunday he urged his 
people with tears to repent, to believe, and to 
enter into life everlasting. Every Sunday he set 
before them the beauty of the Christian life, and, 
by all the arts of eloquent persuasion, endeavoured 
to lead his people into it. 'He would bend over 
the pulpit,' writes one who heard him both before 
and after the change, 'he would bend over the 
pulpit and press us to take the gift, as if he held 
it that moment in his hand and would not be satis- 
fied till every one of us had got possession of 
it. And often, when the sermon was over, and 
the psalm was sung, and he rose to pronounce the 
blessing, he would break out afresh with some new 
entreaty, unwilling to let us go until he had made 
one more effort to persuade us to accept it.' Now 
here are the two pictures side by side — the picture 
of Chalmers during his first eight years at Kilmany, 
and the picture of Chalmers during his last four 
years there ! The question is : What happened in 
1811 to bring about the change? 


That is the question; and the answer, bluntly 
stated, is that, in 181 1, Chalmers was converted! 

Thomas Chalmers' Text n 

He made a startling discovery — the most sensational 
discovery that any man ever made. He had oc- 
cupied all the years of his ministry on the Ten 
Commandments; he now discovered, not only that 
there are more commandments than ten, but that 
the greatest commandments of all are not to 
be found among the ten! The experience of 
Chalmers resembles in many respects the experi- 
ence of the Marquis of Lossie. Readers of George 
Macdonald's Malcolm will never forget the chap- 
ter on 'The Marquis and the Schoolmaster.' The 
dying m'arquis sends for the devout schoolmaster, 
Mr. Graham. The schoolmaster knows his man, 
and goes cautiously to work. 

*Are you satisfied with yourself, my lord?' 

*No, by God!' 

* You would like to be better ?' 

*Yes; but how is a poor devil to get out of this 
infernal scrape?' 

'Keep the commandments!' 

'That's it, of course; but there's no time!' 

*If there were but time to draw another breath, 
there would be time to begin !' 

'How am I to begin? Which am I to begin 

'There is one commandment which includes all 
the rest !' 

'Which is that?' 

'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt 
he saved!' 

12 A Bunch of Everlastings 

When the Marquis of Lossie passed from the 
ten commandments to the commandment that in- 
cludes all the ten, he found the peace for which 
he hungered, and, strangely enough, Chalmers en- 
tered into life in a precisely similar way. 


'I am much taken,' he says in his journal, in 
May, 1811, 'I am much taken with Walker's obser- 
vation that we are commanded to believe on the 
Son of God !' 


The Ten Commandments ! 

The Commandment that includes all the Com- 

'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall 
be saved!' 

That was the Marquis of Lossie's text, and it 
was Chalmers'. 

At about this time, he was overtaken by a serious 
illness. He always regarded those days of feeble- 
ness and confinement as the critical days in his 
spiritual history. Long afterwards, when the ex- 
perience of the years had shown that the impressions 
then made were not transitory, he wrote to his 
brother giving him an account of the change that 
then overtook him. He describes it as a great 
revolution in all his methods of thought. *I am 
now most thoroughly of opinion,' he goes on, 'that 
on the system of "Do this and live!" no peace can 

Thomas Chalmers' Text 13 

ever be attained. It is "Believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ and thou shalt he saved!" When this behef 
enters the heart, joy and confidence enter along 
with it!' 

'Thus,' says Dr. Hanna in his great biography 
of Chalmers, 'thus we see him stepping from the 
treacherous ground of "Do and live!" to place his 
feet upon the firm foundation of "Believe on the 
Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt he saved!" ' 

Do! — The Ten Commandments — that was his 
theme at Kilmany for eight long years! 

Believe! — The Commandment that includes all 
the Commandments — that was the word that trans- 
formed his life and transfigured his ministry! 

'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt 
be saved!' 

The result of that change we have partly seen. 
But only partly. We have seen it from the point 
of view of the pew. We have seen the farmer- folk 
of Kilmany astonished as they caught a new note 
in the minister's preaching, a new accent in the 
minister's voice. But we must see the change from 
the point of view of the pulpit. And, as seen from 
the pulpit, the result of the transformation was 
even more surprising and sensational. Chalmers 
alone can tell that story, and we must let him tell 
it in his own way. The twelve years at Kilmany — 
the eight hefore the change, and the four after it — 

14 A Bunch of Everlastings 

have come to an end at last ; and, at a special meeting 
called for the purpose, Mr. Chalmers is taking a 
sorrowful farewell of his first congregation. The 
farmers and their wives have driven in from far 
and near. Their minister has been called to a great 
city charge; they are proud of it; but they find it 
hard to give him up. The valedictory speeches 
have all been made, and now Mr. Chalmers rises 
to reply. After a feeling acknowledgement of the 
compliments paid him, he utters one of the most 
impressive and valuable testimonies to which any 
minister ever gave expression. *I cannot but record,' 
he says, 'the effect of an actual though undesigned 
experiment which I prosecuted for upwards of 
twelve years among you. For the first eight years 
of that time I could expatiate only on the meanness 
of dishonesty, on the villany of falsehood, on the 
despicable arts of calumny, in a word, upon all 
those deformities of character which awaken the 
natural indignation of the human heart against the 
pests and disturbers of human society. But the 
interesting fact is, that, during the whole of that 
period, I never once heard of any reformation being 
wrought amongst my people. All the vehemence 
with which I urged the virtues and the proprieties 
of social life had not the weight of a feather on 
the moral habits of my parishioners. It was not 
until the free offer of forgiveness through the blood 
of Christ was urged upon the acceptance of my 
hearers that I ever heard of any of those subordi- 

Thomas Chalmers' Text 15 

nate reformations which I made the ultimate object 
of my earlier ministrations.' And he closes that 
farewell speech with these memorable words : 'You 
have taught me,' he says, 'that to preach Christ is 
the only effective way of preaching morality; and 
out of your humble cottages I have gathered a 
lesson which, in all its simplicity, I shall carry into 
a wider theatre.' 

Do! — The Ten Commandments — that was his 
theme at Kilmany for eight long years, and it had 
not the weight of a feather ! 

Believe! — The Commandment that includes all 
the Commandments — that was his theme for the 
last four years, and he beheld its gracious and 
renovating effects in every home in the parish! 

'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall 
he saved!' 

With that great witness on his lips, Chalmers 
lays down his charge at Kilmany, and plunges into 
a larger sphere to make world-history! 


^Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt 
be saved!' Chalmers greatly believed and was 
greatly saved. He was saved from all sin and 
made saintly. *If ever a halo surrounded a 
saint,' declares Lord Rosebery, *it encompassed 
Chalmers!' He was saved from all littleness and 
made great. Mr. Gladstone used to say of him 
that the world can never forget 'his warrior 

1 6 A Bunch of Everlastings 

grandeur, his unbounded philanthropy, his strength 
of purpose, his mental integrity, his absorbed and 
absorbing earnestness; and, above all, his singular 
simplicity ; he was one of nature's nobles.' *A strong 
featured man,' said Carlyle, thinking of the massive 
form, the leonine head and the commanding counte- 
nance of his old friend; *a strong featured man, 
and of very beautiful character.' When I want a 
definition of the salvation that comes by faith, I 
like to think of Thomas Chalmers. 


Yes; he greatly believed and was greatly saved; 
he greatly lived and greatly died. It is a Sunday 
evening. He — now an old man of sixty-seven — has 
remained at home, and has spent a delightful eve- 
ning with his children and grandchildren. It is one 
of the happiest evenings that they have ever spent 
together. *We had family worship this morning,' 
the old doctor says to a minister who happens to 
be present, 'but you must give us worship again 
this evening. I expect to give worship in the 
morning!' Immediately after prayers he withdraws, 
smiling and waving his hands to them all and 
wishing them, 'a general good-night!' They call 
him in the morning: but there is no response. 'I 
expect to give worship in the morning!' he had said ; 
and he has gone to give it ! He is sitting up in bed, 
half erect, his head reclining gently on the pillow; 
the expression of his countenance that of fixed and 

Thomas Chalmers' Text 17 

majestic repose. His students liked to think that 
their old master had been translated at the zenith 
of his powers : he felt no touch of senile decay. 

'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt 
be saved!' What is it to be saved? I do not know. 
No man knows. But as I think of the transforma- 
tion that the text effected in the experience of 
Chalmers; as I contemplate his valiant and un- 
selfish life; together with his beautiful and glorious 
death; and as I try to conceive of the felicity into 
which that Sunday night he entered, I can form an 



It goes without saying that the text that made 
Martin Luther made history with a vengeance. 
When, through its mystical but mighty ministry, 
Martin Luther entered into newness of Hfe, the 
face of the world was changed. It was as though 
all the windows of Europe had been suddenly 
thrown open, and the sunshine came streaming in 
everywhere. The destinies of empires were turned 
that day into a new channel. Carlyle has a stirring 
and dramatic chapter in which he shows that every 
nation under heaven stood or fell according to the 
attitude that it assumed towards Martin Luther, 
*I call this Luther a true Great Man,' he exclaims. 
*He is great in intellect, great in courage, great in 
affection and integrity; one of our most lovable 
and gracious men. He is great, not as a hewn 
obelisk is great, but as an Alpine mountain is great ; 
so simple, honest, spontaneous; not setting himself 
up to be great, but there for quite another purpose 
than the purpose of being great!' 'A mighty man,' 
he says again; what were all emperors, popes and 
potentates in comparison? His light was to flame 
as a beacon over long centuries and epochs of the 


Martin Luther's Text 19 

world ; the whole world and its history was waiting 
for this man !' And elsewhere he declares that the 
moment in which Luther defied the wrath of the 
Diet of Worms was the greatest moment in the 
modern history of men. Here, then, was the man; 
what was the text that made him ? 


Let us visit a couple of very interesting Euro- 
pean libraries! And here, in the Convent Library 
at Erfurt, we are shown an exceedingly famous 
and beautiful picture. It represents Luther as a 
young monk of four and twenty, poring in the 
early morning over a copy of the Scriptures to 
which a bit of broken chain is hanging. The dawn 
is stealing through the open lattice, illumining both 
the open Bible and the eager face of its reader. 
And on the page that the young monk so intently 
studies are to be seen the words: 'The just shall 
live by faith.' 

'The just shall live by faith!* 

'The just shall live by faith!' 

These, then, are the words that made the world 
all over again. And now, leaving the Convent 
Library at Erfurt, let us visit another library, the 
Library of Rudolstadt! For here, in a glass case, 
we shall discover a manuscript that will fascinate 
us. It is a letter in the handwriting of Dr. Paul 
Luther, the reformer's youngest son. *In the 
year 1544,' we read, 'my late dearest father, in 

20 A Bunch of Everlastings 

the presence of us all, narrated the whole story of 
his journey to Rome. He acknowledged with great 
joy that, in that city, through the Spirit of Jesus 
Christ, he had come to the knowledge of the truth 
of the everlasting gospel. It happened in this way. 
As he repeated his prayers on the Lateran staircase, 
the words of the Prophet Habakkuk camte suddenly 
to his mind : "The just shall live by faith." There- 
upon he ceased his prayers, returned to Witten- 
berg, and took this as the chief foundation of all his 

*The just shall live by faith!' 

'The just shall live by faith!* 

The picture in the one library, and the manuscript 
in the other, have told us all that we desire to 


'The just shall live by faith!' 

'The just shall live by faith!' 

The words do not flash or glitter. Like the ocean, 
they do not give any indication upon the surface 
of the profundities and mysteries that lie concealed 
beneath. And yet of what other text can it be 
said that, occurring in the Old Testament, it is thrice 
quoted in the New? 

'The just shall live by faith!' cries the Prophet. 

'The just shall live by faith!' says Paul, when 
he addresses a letter to the greatest of the European 

Martin Luther's Text ax 

'The just shall live by faith!' he says again, in 
his letter to the greatest of the Asiatic churches. 

*The just shall live by faith!' says the writer of 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, addressing himself to 

It is as though it were the sum and substance of 
everything, to be proclaimed by prophets in the 
old dispensation, and echoed by apostles in the 
new; to be translated into all languages and trans- 
mitted to every section of the habitable earth. 
Indeed, Bishop Lightfoot as good as says that the 
words represent the concentration and epitome of 
all revealed religion. 'The whole law,' he says, 
'was given to Moses in six hundred and thirteen 
precepts. David, in the fifteenth Psalm, brings 
them all within the compass of eleven. Isaiah re- 
duces them to six; Micah to three; and Isaiah, 
in a later passage, to two. But Habakkuk con- 
denses them all into one : "The just shall live by 

And this string of monosyllables that sums 
up everything and is sent to everybody — the old 
world's text : the new world's t6xt : the prophet's 
text: the Jew's text: the European's text: the 
Asiatic's text: everybody's text — is, in a special 
and peculiar sense, Martin Luther's text. We 
made that discovery in the libraries of Erfurt 
and Rudolstadt; and we shall, as we proceed, 
find abundant evidence to confirm us in that con- 

23 A Bunch of Everlastings 


For, strangely enough, the text that echoed 
itself three times in the New Testament, echoed 
itself three times also in the experience of Luther. 
It met him at Wittenberg, it met him at Bologna, 
and it finally mastered him at Rome. 

It was at Wittenberg that the incident occurred 
which we have already seen transferred to the 
painter's canvas. In the retirement of his quiet 
cell, while the world is still wrapped in slumber, 
he pores over the epistle to the Romans. Paul's 
quotation from Habakkuk strangely captivates him. 

'The just shall live by faith!' 

'The just shall live by faith!' 

'This precept,' says the historian, 'fascinates 
him. "For the just, then," he says to himself, 
"there is a life different from that of other men; 
and this life is the gift of faith !" This promise, 
to which he opens all his heart, as if God had placed 
it there specially for him, unveils to him the 
mystery of the Christian life. For years after- 
wards, in the midst of his numerous occupations, 
he fancies that he still hears the words repeating 
themselves to him over and over again.' 

'The just shall live by faith!' 

'The just shall live by faith!' 

Years pass. Luther travels. In the course of 
his journey, he crosses the Alps, is entertained at 
a Benedictine Convent at Bologna, and is there 

Martin Luther's Text 23 

overtaken by a serious sickness. His mind relapses 
into utmost darkness and dejection. To die thus, 
under a burning sky and in a foreign land ! He 
shudders at the thought. 'The sense of his sinful- 
ness troubles him; the prospect of judgement fills 
him with dread. But at the very moment at which 
these terrors reach their highest pitch, the words 
that had already struck him at Wittenberg recur 
forcibly to his memory and enlighten his soul like 
a ray from heaven — 

"The just shall live by faith!" 

"The just shall live by faith!" 
Thus restored and comforted,' the record con- 
cludes, 'he soon regains his health and resumes his 

The third of these experiences — the experience 
narrated in that fireside conversation of which the 
manuscript at Rudolstadt has told us — befalls him 
at Rome. 'Wishing to obtain an indulgence 
promised by the Pope to all who shall ascend 
Pilate's Staircase on their knees, the good Saxon 
monk is painfully creeping up those steps which, 
he is told, were miraculously transported from 
Jerusalem to Rome. Whilst he is performing this 
meritorious act, however, he thinks he hears a 
voice of thunder crying, as at Wittenberg and 
Bologna — 

"The just shall live by faith!" 

"The just shall live by faith!" 

'These words, that twice before have struck him 

34 A Bunch of Everlastings 

like the voice of an angel from heaven, resound 
unceasingly and powerfully within him. He rises 
in amazement from the steps up which he is drag- 
ging his body: he shudders at himself: he is 
ashamed at seeing to what a depth superstition 
plunged him. He flies far from the scene of his 

Thus, thrice in the New Testament and thrice 
in the life of Luther, the text speaks with singular 
appropriateness and effect. 


*This powerful text,' remarks Merle D'Aubigne, 
*has a mysterious influence on the life of Luther. 
It was a creative sentence, both for the reformer 
and for the Reformation. It was in these words 
that God then said, "Let there be light !" and there 
was light!' 


It was the unveiling of the Face of God ! Until 
this great transforming text flashed its light into 
the soul of Luther, his thought of God was a pagan 
thought. And the pagan thought is an unjust 
thought, an unworthy thought, a cruel thought. 
Look at this Indian devotee! From head to foot 
he bears the marks of the torture that he has in- 
flicted upon his body in his frantic efforts to give 
pleasure to his god. His back is a tangle of scars. 
The flesh has been lacerated by the pitiless hooks 

Martin Luther's Text 25 

by which he has swung himself on the terrible 
churuka. Iron spears have been repeatedly run 
through his tongue. His ears are torn to ribbons. 
What does it mean? It can only mean that he 
worships a fiend! His god loves to see him in 
anguish! His cries of pain are music in the ears 
of the deity whom he adores ! This ceaseless orgy 
of torture is his futile endeavour to satisfy the 
idol's lust for blood. Luther made precisely the 
same mistake. To his sensitive mind, every thought 
of God was a thing of terror. 'When I was young,' 
he tells us, *it happened that at Eisleben, on Corpus 
Christi day, I was walking with the procession, 
when, suddenly, the sight of the Holy Sacrament 
which was carried by Doctor Staupitz, so terrified 
me that a cold sweat covered my body and I believed 
myself dying of terror.' All through his convent 
days he proceeds upon the assumption that God 
gloats over his misery. His life is a long drawn 
out agony. He creeps like a shadow along the gal- 
leries of the cloister, the walls echoing with his 
dismal moanings. His body wastes to a skeleton; 
his strength ebbs away : on more than one occasion 
his brother monks find him prostrate on the convent 
floor and pick him up for dead. And all the time 
he thinks of God as One who can find delight in 
these continuous torments! The just shall live, 
he says to himself, by penance and by pain. The 
just shall live by fasting: the just shall live by 

26 A Bunch of Everlastings 


*The just shall live by fear!' Luther mutters to 
himself every day of his life. 

'The just shall live by faith!' says the text that 
breaks upon him like a light from heaven. 

'By fear! By fear!' 

'By faith! By faith!' 

And what is faith? The theologians may find 
difficulty in defining it, yet every little child knows 
what it is. In all the days of my own ministry I 
have found only one definition that has satisfied 
me, and whenever I have had occasion to speak of 
faith, I have recited it. It is Bishop O'Brien's: — 

'They who know what is meant by faith in a 
promise, know what is meant by faith in the Gospel; 
they who know what is meant by faith in a remedy, 
know what is meant by faith in the blood of the 
Redeemer; they who know what is meant by faith 
in a physician, faith in an advocate, faith in a friend, 
know, too, what is meant by faith in the Lord Jesus 

With the coming of the text, Luther passes from 
the realm of fear into the realm of faith. It is like 
passing from the rigours of an arctic night into 
the sunshine of a summer day; it is like passing 
from a crowded city slum into the fields where 
the daffodils dance and the linnets sing; it is like 
passing into a new world; it is like entering Para- 

Blartin Luther's Text 27 


Yes, it is like entering Paradise! The expression 
is his, not mine. 'Before those words broke upon 
my mind,' he says, 'I hated God and was angry 
with Him because, not content with frightening us 
sinners by the law and by the miseries of life, he 
still further increased our torture by the gospel. 
But when, by the Spirit of God, I understood these 
words — 

"The just shall live by faith!" 

"The just shall live by faith!" 
— then I felt born again like a new man; I entered 
through the open doors into the very Paradise of 

'Henceforward,' he says again, 'I saw the beloved 
and holy Scriptures with other eyes. The words 
that I had previously detested, I began from that 
hour to value and to love as the sweetest and most 
consoling words in the Bible. In very truth, this 
text was to me the true gate of Paradise!' 

'An open door into the very Paradise of God!' 

'This text was to me the true gate of Paradise!' 

And they who enter into the City of God by that 
gate will go no more out for ever. 



A HEAP of books and bones — and that was all! 
One after another, no fewer than forty intrepid 
navigators had invaded the awful solitudes of the 
Arctic seas in quest of some trace of Sir John 
Franklin and his gallant men; and this was the 
tardy and the meagre reward of those long, long 
years of search! On the snow-bound coast of a 
large but inhospitable island, Sir Francis McClintock 
discovered an overturned and dilapidated boat. 
Underneath it, together with a few guns and 
watches, they found a collection of bones and of 
books. The men had been more than ten years 
dead. Sir John Franklin, it was known, from 
documents found elsewhere, had died upon his ship. 
His last moments were cheered by the knowledge, 
which came to him just in time, that the expedition 
had been successful, and that the long-dreamed-of 
North-West-Passage had been proved to be a fact. 
The other miembers of the expedition, more than a 
hundred and twenty men, had made an attempt to 
save their lives by an overland dash. The natives 
had seen that shadowy and wavering line of wan- 
derers. They were very thin, the Eskimos said, 


Sir John Franklin's Text 29 

and could with difficulty stagger along. With every 
mile, some fell out and lay down in the snow to die. 
Others, according to an old native woman who met 
them, seemed to die upon their feet, and they only 
fell because death had already overtaken them. But, 
of all the members of the Franklin expedition, these 
were the first whose bones were actually found. 
And, with the bones, some books ! It was the bones 
that principally interested their discoverers: it is 
the books that must principally interest us. For 
some of these saturated and frozen volumes were 
once the personal property of Sir John Franklin. 
Do they not still bear his name ? One of them is a 
battered copy of Dr. John Todd's Student's Manual. 
Sir John has turned down a leaf in order to mark 
a passage that appears on almost the last page of the 

* "Are you not afraid to die?" * 


'No ! Why does the uncertainty of another state 
give you no concern?' 

'Because God has said to me: "Fear not; when 
thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; 
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee!" ' 

There, as though his frozen finger pointed to it, 
stands Sir John Franklin's text. 


'The waters! The waters!' 

'The beckoning, challenging waters!' 

30 A Bunch of Everlastings 

'When thou passe st through the waters!* 
From his earliest boyhood the waters had called 
him. He lived in an inland town : his parents de- 
signed him for the church : he was to be a bishop, 
so they said ! But a holiday at the seaside makes 
all the difference. He walks up and down the sands 
looking out on the infinite expanse of water. He 
climbs the broken cliffs, and shading his eyes with his 
hand, watches the great ships vanish over the dis- 
tant skyline. The unseen taunts his imagination : 
it alters the whole course of his life. The sight of 
the sea awakens a tempest of strange passions in 
his soul. Distant voices call him and distant fingers 
beckon. To be a sailor! To be the first that ever 
burst into some silent sea! His fancy catches fire 
at the very thought of it! 
The waters! The waters! 
The call of the waters! 
'When thou passest through the waters!' 
He yields himself to the impulse that he scarcely 
has the power to resist. He gives himself to the 
waters, and he learns the business of seamanship 
from the most distinguished masters of all time. 
With Matthew Flinders, the most audacious and 
the most unfortunate of our Australian explorers, 
he circumnavigates this great continent; whilst at 
Copenhagen and Trafalgar he fights beneath 'the 
greatest sailor since the world began,' He makes 
friends, too, with men who have sailed with Cap- 
tain Cook, from one of whom, Sir Joseph Banks, he 

Sir John Franklin's Text 31 

catches the inspiration that sends him cruising into 
Arctic seas. But whether in peaceful exploration or 
amidst the excitements of war, whether in the 
sunny South or in the frigid and desolate North, 
he is for ever listening to the voices of the waters. 
He knows what the wild waves are saying. They 
are calling him to come. And he obeys. For in his 
heart he cherishes a wonderful secret. The un- 
known waters are not as lonely as they seem. 

The shining tropical waters! 

The frozen polar waters! 

The unseen, unsailed waters! 

'When thou passest through the waters, I will 
be with thee!' 

The delightful eyes of Franklin behold a sea of 
significance in that. 


A dauntless explorer and a brilliant discoverer 
was Franklin, but by far the most fruitful dis- 
covery of his adventurous life was made in 1820, 
He was then in his thirty-fifth year, and was un- 
dergoing his first experience of the ice-bound North. 
He was in charge of the overland section of the 
expedition, and was compelled to winter at Fort 
Enterprise, a desolate spot half way between the 
Great Bear Lake and the Great Slave Lake. It 
was a weird experience — so cold, so dark, so still! 
In a letter to his sister, written from this out- 
landish solitude, he speaks of the astonishing way 

32 A Bunch of Everlastings 

in which, during the intense Arctic silence, his 
Bible breaks with new beauty upon him. It is not 
the same book. The surprises grow in novelty and 
wonder every day. Everything in the sacred vol- 
ume, and especially the central story — the story 
of redeeming love — acquires a new glory in his en- 
raptured eyes. In this hushed wilderness of snow 
and ice, he has abundant time for thought. Such 
serious reflection, he says, must soon convince a 
sinner of his guilt, of his inability to do anything 
to save himself, and of his urgent need of de- 
liverance. 'If, under this conviction, he should 
enquire, ''How, then, can I he saved?" would it not 
be joy unspeakable for him to find that the gospel 
points out the way? Christ who died for the sal- 
vation of sinners is the Way, the Truth and the 
Life. Whoso cometh unto Hint in full purpose of 
heart shall in no wise he cast out. Can anything 
be more cheering than these assurances, or better 
calculated to fill the mind with heavenly impres- 
sions and lift up the heart in grateful adoration to 

'How, then, can I he saved?' 

7 am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Him 
that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.* 

He has heard the call of the waters; and on his 
very first venture into the cold and silent North, 
he has discovered this! He has found, not only 
a Saviour, but a Friend. He has received the 
assurance, on whatever seas he sails, of a divine 

Sir John Franklin's Text 33 

Presence, a sacred Comradeship; and, to the end of 
his life, he never ceased to prize it. 


The saint is never cast in a mould: no two are 
alike. On my desk at this moment lie two books 
side by side. One is the Life of Sir John Franklin, 
the other is Brother Lawrence's Practice of the 
Presence of God. Can any greater contrast be 
imagined? Here are two types of saintliness: 
neither appears to have anything in common with 
the other. For one man is a monk : the other is 
a mariner. The one is a recluse, moving among 
the cells and cloisters of a Carmelite Monastery: 
the other travels over all the continents and sails 
into all the seas. The one is essentially an ascetic: 
the other is essentially a man of the world. The 
one is pale and thin and sad: the other is bluff 
and bronzed and jolly. And yet I am impressed 
at this moment, not by the contrast, but by the 
similitude. Let us look for a moment beneath the 
trappings alike of the monk and of the mariner; 
and, in each case, let us search the soul of the man. 

'I have quitted all forms of devotion,' says 
Brother Lawrence, 'but those to which my state 
obliges me. And I make it my business only to 
persevere in His holy presence. I am assured be- 
yond all doubt that my soul has been with God 
above these thirty years. Were I a preacher, I 

34 A Bunch of Everlastings 

should above all other things preach the practice 
of the presence of God; and, were I a director, I 
should advise all the world to it, so necessary do 
I think it, and so easy, too. I cannot imagine how 
religious persons can live satisfied without the 
practice of the presecne of God: while I am with 
Him I fear nothing, but the least turning from 
Him is insupportable.' 

Now, had I not revealed the source of these 
words, nobody could have told whether I had copied 
them from the conversations of the monk or from 
the journal of the mariner. They fell from the 
lips of Brother Lawrence; but they might just as 
as easily have occurred in the correspondence of 
Franklin. For it was the joy of Franklin's life, 
and the comfort of his death, that he could never 
be alone. 'When thou passest through the waters/ 
the promise said, 'I will he with thee' ; and he be- 
lieved it. The thought runs through all his fare- 
well letters. His leave-taking reminds one of 
Enoch Arden's. 

Keep everything shipshape, for I must go! 
And fear no more for me; or, if you fear, 
Cast all your cares on God ; that anchor holds ! 
Is He not yonder in those uttermost 
Parts of the morning? If I flee to these, 
Can I go from Him? And the sea is His, 
The sea is His; He made it! 

On the night before the ships sailed on that last 
fatal voyage, he expressed his confidence in the 

Sir John Franklin's Text 35 

divine care; in all the blunt sailor-sermons that 
he preached to his officers and men amidst the ice, 
the same thought was always uppermost; and the 
book, with the leaf turned down at the text, shows 
that his confidence held out to the last. 

The white, white waters! 

The cruel and pitiless waters! 

The all-engulfing waters! 

*When thou passest through the waters, I will 
be with thee!' 

In life, and in death, that anchor held! 


Yes, the anchor held; but the strain upon it was 
at times terrific. What test, for example, can be 
more severe than the test of slow starvation? And, 
more than once, Franklin's faith was subjected to 
that terrible ordeal. The ragamuffins in the London 
streets used to call Franklin 'the man who ate his 
own boots,' and he lived to laugh with them at the 
joke; but it was grim enough experience at the 
time. The horror of it invaded his sleep for years 
afterwards. They are out amidst the snowy vast- 
nesses of the interior when the food fails. They 
divide into two parties : Franklin leads the stronger 
men in an attempt to find provisions, whilst Dr. 
Richardson remains to nurse the more exhausted 
members of the expedition. The foraging party 
has no success; and all are reduced to skeletons. 

36 A Bunch of Everlastings 

Whilst Franklin and his companions are resting, 
Dr. Richardson and a seaman of his party come 
spectrally upon them. They are the only survivors 
of the group left at the camp! All are soon too 
feeble to move. In their extremity a herd of rein- 
deer trot by ; but the men are too exhausted to fire ! 
Franklin remembers the promise, and, with thin 
and wavering voice, leads the party in prayer. And 
this is the next entry in his journal : — 

'Nov. 7, 1 82 1. Praise be to the Lord! We were 
this day rejoiced at noon by the appearance of 
Indians with supplies !' 

'Old Franklin,' so wrote a midshipman to his 
friends at home, *old Franklin is an exceedingly 
good old chap and very clever. We are all delighted 
with him. He is quite a bishop. We have church 
morning and evening on Sundays, the evening 
service in the cabin to allow of the attendance 
of the watch that could not be present in the fore- 
noon. We all go both times. The men say they 
would rather have him than half the parsons in 

For, after all, there is no eloquence like the elo- 
quence of conviction, and out of the depths of a 
great and wonderful experience Sir John addressed 
his men. 

The waters! 

The wide, wide waters! 

The waves on which the Lord was always 

Sir John Franklin's Text 37 

'When thou passest through the waters, I will 
be with thee!' 

The cable often quivered, but the anchor held! 


'When thou passest through the waters, I will 
be with thee!' 

Franklin found the Lord walking on all the 
waters. Lying on my desk is an ancient map of 
the world which an old pilot showed to Henry the 
Seventh in the year 1500. One or two continents 
are missing, but there are ample compensations! 
For, all over the unexplored territory, I find written : 
'Here be dragons!' 'Here be demons!' 'Here be 
sirens!* 'Here be savages that worship devils!' and 
so on. But, on his map of the world, Franklin 
wrote across all the unknown lands and all the un- 
charted seas, 'Here is God!' 'When thou passest 
through the waters, I will be with thee!' And he 
always found Him there. 

'When thou passest through the waters, I will 
be with thee!' 

Who shall doubt that when, at last, he set out 
upon that strange voyage on unknown seas which, 
sooner or later, we must all undertake, he still 
found the promise true? When Lord Tennyson 
was asked to write an inscription for the monument 
in Westminster Abbey, he composed the lines that 
are recognised as one of the real adornments of 
the Abbey: — 

38 A Bunch of Everlastings 

Not here! the White North hath thy bones, and thou, 

Heroic Sailor Soul ! 
Art passing on thy happier voyage now 

Towards no earthly Pole 1 


'Passing on thy happier voyage!' 

'When thou passest . . . I will be with thee!' 

Who, I say, can doubt the Presence Divine on 
those uncharted waters? 

When, in 1875, at the age of eighty-three. Lady 
Franklin passed away, Dean Stanley added a post- 
script to Lord Tennyson's inscription. It declared 
that the monument in the Abbey was 'Erected by 
his widow, who, after long waiting and sending 
many in search of him, herself departed to seek and 
to find him in the realms of light/ 

Thus, He who is with each of His voyagers when 
they sail upon strange waters brings them safely 
home and safely together; and, in the bliss of 
arrival and reunion, the fierce storms and the long 
separations are alike forgotten. 




A WINDING, zig-zag path ascends the steep green 
hill beside the stream; and an elderly man, some- 
what bent, and leaning heavily upon his stick, is 
toiling slowly and painfully up the slope. He pauses, 
partly to take breath and partly that he may turn 
and survey the exquisite panorama of emerald wood- 
land and sparkling stream. But the grandeur of the 
silent hills, the perfume of the tossing hyacinths, the 
chirping of the grasshoppers at his feet, and the 
haunting laughter of the silvery stream below, all 
fail to gladden him to-day. The beauteous land- 
scape of leafy wold and laughing water is bathed in 
radiant sunshine; yet for him the skies are gray and 
the earth is wrapped in gJoom. His countenance is 
sad and pensive, for he is conjuring up the memories 
of happier days. He is thinking of those whom 
he has loved long since and lost awhile. He knows 
that this must be his final visit to the enchanting 
valley that has inspired some of his tenderest poetry. 
For this is William Wordsworth. He has written 
'Yarrow Unvisited,' 'Yarrow Visited,' and 'Yarrow 
Revisited,' and now he has come to take a last lin- 
gering farewell of the lovely place. He thinks of 


40 A Bunch of Everlastings 

those in whose sweet society he first explored its 
flowery fields and forest paths — thinks especially of 
two. He thinks of Dorothy, his sister, with whom 
he walked, hand in hand, along these soft and 
grassy banks in the days of long ago. He owes 
everything to Dorothy. It was Dorothy who made 
him a poet. And now Dorothy is ill, so ill that she 
can never really recover ! Then, turning to the east, 
he shades his eyes with his hand and looks wistfully 
towards Abbotsford. For it was Sir Walter Scott 
who first welcomed him to this delightful spot. 
Only a few months ago they rambled through these 
woodland paths together. And now Scott is dead! 
He who was the life and soul of this romantic 
countryside will climb its hills and ford its streams 
no more! To Wordsworth, the rugged slopes and 
the wooded valleys, the waving grasses and the 
murmuring torrent, are all lamenting the loss of one 
who loved them each so well. There are few things 
more affecting than to find the old familiar places, 
but to miss the old familiar faces. Wordsworth 
passes sadly over the crest of the hill to revisit the 
Yarrow vale no more. Scott is dead! This was 
in 1832. 


We will remain in this same delightful neigh- 
bourhood, but we will go back exactly a hundred 
years. Scott died in 1832. In 1732 an old minister 
whose manse stood just at the foot of yonder hill, 

Thomas Boston's Text 


lay dying. He has come to within a few days of 
his triumphant departure. But, although death is 
stamped upon his face, and it is known that he 
will never leave his bed again, it is announced that 
he will preach on Sunday, morning and evening, 
as usual! He orders his bed to be drawn up to 
the window, and prepares to address his people for 
the last time. Sunday comes. From all the farms 
and homesteads of that Selkirkshire countryside, 
ploughmen and shepherds, accompanied by their 
wives and children, set out early in the morning to 
hear their old minister's last words. From all round 
the slopes of Ettrick Pen, from the distant foothills 
of Broad Law, from the lovely shores of St. Mary's 
Lake, from all down the valleys of the Ettrick and 
the Yarrow, little groups of men and women make 
their way with heavy footsteps to the manse. The 
church at the foot of the knoll, the church with its 
quaint old tower, the church in which he has minis- 
tered for five and twenty years, is closed to-day. 
The dying man has turned his deathbed into a 
pulpit, and the whole countryside has gathered to 
listen to his last message. The eager multitude 
stretches far beyond the reach of his thin and 
wavering voice. But those who cannot hear can 
at least see his pale, wan face, and note the fire in 
his eye that even death is impotent to quench. As 
he sits, propped up by pillows, pleading with his 
people for the last time, the mountain breezes play 
with his thin, silvery hair. He exhausts the last 

42 A Bunch of Everlastings 

atom of his failing strength as he pours out his 
soul in aflfectionate admonition and passionate en- 
treaty. His voice falters ; the watchers round the 
bed gently remove the pillows that support him, and 
he lies prostrate, breathing heavily; the window is 
closed, and the great black crowd, breaking up into 
little groups again, melts sadly and silently away. 
In a few days it is tearfully whispered in every 
cottage that Thomas Boston is dead. So ended one 
of the most fruitful and memorable ministries that 
even Scotland has enjoyed. In 1732, as in 1832, 
there was sorrow in all that countryside. In 1732, 
as in 1832, the Valley of the Yarrow was a vale of 


Whenever I am inclined to pessimism, or am 
tempted to suppose that modern conditions preclude 
the possibility of a rich and fruitful ministry, I 
reflect on the conditions that beset poor Thomas 
Boston. On the self-same day that witnessed the 
union under one crown of the English and Scottish 
realms, on May Day, 1707, Boston settled at Et- 
trick. The church had but few members, and even 
these were of such a type that their behaviour was 
a reproach to the sanctuary. The poor minister, 
whose heart was still tender at leaving his first 
people, was horrified to find that his new parishion- 
ers could scarcely speak without profanity, and were 
addicted to lives of the grossest immorality. Their 

Thomas Boston's Text 43 

sins, moreover, were absolutely shameless. They 
were 'smart and of an uncommon assurance, self- 
conceited and censorious to a pitch.' Even when 
they came to church, their conduct was disorderly 
and indecent to the last degree. Many of them 
loitered about the churchyard, arguing and brawl- 
ing whilst worship was proceeding; and elders had 
to be told off to keep order both inside and outside 
of the building. It was three years before Mr. 
Boston would allow the Lord's Supper to be ob- 
served among them. 'I have been much discouraged 
with respect to my parish a long time,' he says in 
his Memoirs, 'and have had little hand or heart for 
my work.' For twenty-five years, however, he min- 
istered incessantly to this people. He visited them 
all in their homes; pleaded with them each in secret; 
invited the heads of the household to the manse, 
and taught them how to conduct family worship. 
After three years he was sufficiently assured of the 
sincerity of a handful of his people to admit them 
to the Lord's Table. Five years later, he is delighted 
at finding that he has a hundred and fifty devout 
communicants. Later still, he witnesses the most 
surprising spectacle in this same valley. People 
come in streams from far and near to be present at 
the Communion Service at Ettrick. 'It often re- 
minded him of the Jewish Pilgrims in Old Testa- 
ment times ascending in companies to Jerusalem to 
keep their Passover.' When the sacred season came 
round he had to call in other ministers to help 

44 A Bunch of Everlastings 

him dispense the mystic symbols. The wilderness 
had become a fruitful field. The Ettrick manse was 
every week the resort of eager penitents, who, be- 
holding with amazement the transformation in so 
many lives around them, were anxious to catch the 
holy contagion. In every house, family worship 
sanctified the opening and sweetened the close of 
each succeeding day. And the old church under the 
hill was, to hundreds and hundreds of people, the 
dearest spot that eyes had ever seen, 


Did I say that, when they withdrew the bed 
from the window, and the dying minister turned his 
face to the wall, his memorable ministry ended? 
If so, it was a slip of the pen, and an unpardonable 
slip at that. It is every man's duty to provide him- 
self with some honest work that he may do when 
he is lying in his grave. Boston did; for, when 
the ministry of his lips ended, the ministry of his 
pen began. For years after his death, Thomas 
Boston's books were the most popular and most 
powerful works in Scotland ; and, by means of 
them, the fragrance that had for so long filled the 
Ettrick Valley was wafted far and wide. Whilst 
Thomas Boston was lying in his grave, his in- 
fluence was growing by leaps and bounds. Speaking 
of one of the books. The Fourfold State, Dr. An- 
drew Thomson, in his Introduction to Boston's Life 
and Times, says that within a quarter of a century 

Thomas Boston's Text 45 

after its publication, it had found its way and was 
eagerly read and pondered, over the Scottish Low- 
lands. 'From St. Abb's Head to the remotest point 
in Galloway it was to be seen side by side with the 
Bible and Bunyan on the shelf in every peasant's 
cottage. The shepherd bore it with him, folded in 
his plaid, up among the silent hills; the ploughman 
in the valleys refreshed his spirit with it, as with 
heavenly manna, after his long day of toil. The 
influence, which began with the humble classes, 
ascended like a fragrance into the mansions of the 
Lowland laird and the Border chief, and carried 
with it a new and hallowed joy.' And, on the 
authority of one who lived nearer to Boston's time, 
he says that for three generations this book was 
the instrument of more numerous conversions and 
more extensive spiritual quickening than any other 
volume he could name. And has not Dr. Thomas 
McCrie, one of the greatest authorities on Scottish 
life and literature, who was himself born in the same 
little Border town in which Boston first saw the 
light, spoken of The Fourfold State as a book that 
has contributed more than any other work to mould 
the religious sentiments of the Scottish people? 

Now, where was this lamp lit, and by what flame 
was it kindled? From infancy Boston was taught 
to take religion seriously. Had not his father en- 
dured imprisonment for conscience' sake, and had 

46 A Bunch of Everlastings 

not Thomas, as a little boy, sat with him in his cell 
to help relieve his loneliness? But when the lad 
was twelve years of age, the Rev. Henry Erskine, 
a name that must always hold a charm to Scottish 
folk, came into the Border Country and began to 
preach. From every direction people flocked to 
hear him. John Boston went, taking little Thomas 
with him. They were deeply moved, and went 
again. Then, one never-to-be-forgotten day, Mr. 
Erskine cried out, 'Behold the Lamb of God that 
iaketh away the sin of the world! Behold the Lamb 
of God that taketh away the sin of the world!' 
What mountainous words ! 

The Lamb! .... The Sin! 

God! .... The World! 

The Lamb of God! 

The Sin of the World! 

The Lamb that taketh away the Sin! 

*By this,' says Boston, T judge God spake to me. 
I know I was touched to the quick at the first hear- 
ing, wherein I was like one amazed with some new 
and strange thing. Sure I am I was in good 
earnest concerned for a saving interest in Jesus 
Christ. My soul went out after Him, and the place 
of His feet was glorious in mine eyes.' 


The day on which that stupendous pronouncement 
was first made was the day on which the slow 
evolution of prophecy reached its culmination and 

Thomas Boston's Text 47 

its climax. In the gray dawn of history a youth 
had climbed Mount Moriah, walking by his father's 
side, asking as he walked one pertinent and tragic 
question : 'My father, behold the fire and the wood, 
but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?' 

'Where is the Lamhf 

'Where is the Lamhf 

The question, once started, echoed down the ages 
from generation to generation. For twenty cen- 
turies it haunted the hearts of men. And then, one 
day, the people were assembling at Jerusalem for 
the Passover, the Feast of the Lamb that was 
Slain. The thought of sacrifice, and especially of 
the sacrifice of the Lamb, was in every mind. And, 
as they flocked together to listen to the preaching of 
a strange, prophetic figure from the desert, the 
speaker caught sight of a Face in the crowd, a 
Face such as earth had never seen before. And, 
forsaking the beaten track of his discourse, he cried 
out: 'Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away 
the sin of the world!' The riddle of the ages was 
read at last! 

'Behold the Lamb!' 

'Behold the Lamb!' 

T once stood in the valley of the Rees River at 
the head of Lake Wakatipu,' says Dr. Rutherford 
Waddell, 'and looked up at the great glacier heights 
of Mount Earnslaw. Far away up across the moun- 
tain brow innumerable rills and streams of water 
were pouring like silver bars down towards the 

4$ A Bunch of Everlastings 

pine forests that climb the mountain-side. Across 
vast widths of snow and ice they converged their 
multitudinous rills; and by the time they had 
reached the forests they had united their streams 
into one great torrent. This comes tumbling down, 
forming the beautiful Lennox Waterfall, and then, 
leaping forth, it hurries away hence to the plain, 
singing the song of liberty and life. So all the 
diverging streams of ancient thought and Hebrew 
prophecy meet in one great announcement. The 
long evolution of the ages finds its culmination at 
last in a living Person : "Behold the Lamb of God 
that taketh azvay the sin of the world!" ' Boston 
heard Erskine repeat that stupendous declaration 
in a little Border town, and all his heart stood up 
to greet its deep and awful significance. 


But what is that profound significance? The 
Lamb ! The Lamb of God ! The Lamb that taketh 
away the Sin! What does it mean? The Lamb 
stands for two things, two and no more. It is the 
symbol of Innocence, and it is the symbol of Suf- 
fering. These two factors in human experience — 
Innocence and Suffering — are united in the symbol- 
ism of the lamb; and they are united in the eternal 
scheme of things. For the dark tragedy of human 
guilt passes through two stages. There is the 
preliminary stage: the stage in which the guilt of 
the Guilty is the torture of the Innocent — the father 

Thomas Boston's Text 49 

heartbroken at his daughter's shame; the mother 
weeping over the excesses of her dissolute boy. And 
there is the subsequent stage, the stage in which the 
innocence of the Innocent is the torture of the 
Guilty — Legree tormented by the lock of his 
mother's hair; Dombey racked in the day of his 
ruin by the fact that 'every loving blossom he had 
withered in his innocent daughter's heart was snow- 
ing down in ashes on him.' The first of these prin- 
ciples — the torture of the Innocent by the guilt of 
the Guilty — led to Redemption. The second of these 
principles — the torture of the Guilty by the inno- 
cence of the Innocent — leads to Repentance. The 
first led the Son of the Highest to become the Lamb 
of God; the second led to the transformation in 
the soul of Boston when the great revelation burst 
upon him. 


The startling proclamation that had so cap- 
tivated his own heart became the keynote of 
Boston's historic and epoch-making ministry. 'From 
the time of my settling here,' he says, 'the great 
thing I aimed at in my preaching was to impress 
the people with a sense of their need of Christ.' 
In his later years Boston became convinced that 
a good sermon ought to be frequently repeated. He 
himself preached one sermon again and again and 
again. Its text was : 'Behold the Lamb of God that 
taketh away the sin of the world!' And when the 

50 A Bunch of Everlastings 

people gathered that Sunday under the bedroom 
window to hear his dying message, he still urged 
them with many tears to fix their eyes and their 
affections upon the Lamb of God. When Boston's 
sun was setting in Scotland, Wesley's was rising in 
England. It was in those days that Charles Wesley 

Happy, if with my latest breath 

I may but gasp His name ; 
Preach Him to all, and cry in death, 

'Behold, behold the Lamb I' 

And whilst, in England, Charles Wesley coveted 
for himself so sublime an experience, Thomas 
Boston, in Scotland, actually tasted its felicity. 



There is excitement in the streets of Lx)ndon! 
Who is this upon whom the crowd is pressing as he 
passes down the Strand? Women throw open the 
windows and gaze admiringly out ; shopkeepers rush 
from behind their counters to join the throng as it 
approaches: apprentices fling aside their tools and, 
from every lane and alley, pour into the street; 
waggoners rein in their horses and leave them for a 
moment unattended; the taverns empty as the pro- 
cession draws near them! Everybody is anxious 
to catch a glimpse of this man's face; to hear, if 
possible, the sound of his voice; or, better still, to 
clasp his hand as he passes. For this is Hugh 
Latimer; the terror of evil-doers; the idol of the 
common people; and, to use the phraseology of a 
chronicler of the period, 'the honestest man in 
England.' By sheer force of character he has 
raised himself from a ploughman's cottage to a 
bishop's palace — an achievement that, in the six- 
teenth century, stands without precedent or parallel. 
'My father was a yeoman,' he says, in the course 
of a sermon preached before the King, 'my father 
was a yeoman, and had no lands of his own; he 


52 A Bunch of Everlastings 

had a farm of three or four pounds a year at the 
utmost, and hereupon he tilled so much as kept 
half-a-dozen men. He had walk for a hundred 
sheep; and my mother milked thirty kine. He 
kept me at school, or else I had not been able to 
have preached before the King's majesty now.' 
Nor has his elevation spoiled him. He has borne 
with him in his exaltations the spirit of the common 
people. He feels as they feel; he thinks as they 
think; he even speaks as they speak. It was said 
of him, as of his Master, that the common people 
heard him gladly. In cathedral pulpits and royal 
chapels he speaks a dialect that the common people 
can readily understand; he uses homely illustra- 
tions gathered from the farm, the kitchen and the 
counting-house ; he studiously eschews the pedantries 
of the schoolmen and the subtleties of the theolo- 
gians. His sermons are, as Macaulay says, 'the 
plain talk of a plain man, who sprang from the 
body of the people, who sympathized strongly with 
their wants and their feelings, and who boldly 
uttered their opinions.* It was on account of the 
fearless way in which stout-hearted old Hugh ex- 
posed the misdeeds of men in ermine tippets and 
gold collars that the Londoners cheered him as he 
walked down the Strand to preach at Whitehall, 
struggled for a touch of his gown, and bawled, 
'Have at them. Father Latimer!' There he goes, 
then ; a man of sound sense, honest affection, earnest 
purpose and sturdy speech; a man whose pale face. 

Hugh Latimer's Text 53 

stooping figure and emaciated frame show that it 
has cost him something to struggle upwards from 
the ploughshare to the palace ; a man who looks for 
all the world like some old Hebrew prophet trans- 
planted incongruously into the prosaic life of Lon- 
don! He passes down the Strand with the people 
surging fondly around him. He loves the people, 
and is pleased with their confidence in him. His 
heart is simple enough and human enough to find 
the sweetest of all music in the plaudits that are 
ringing in his ears. So much for London ; we must 
go to Oxford ! 


There is excitement in the streets of Oxford! 
Who is this upon whom the crowd is pressing as 
he passes down from the Mayor's house to the open 
ground in front of Balliol College? Again, women 
are leaning out of the windows; shopkeepers are 
forsaking their counters; apprentices are throwing 
aside their tools; and drivers are deserting their 
horses that they may stare at him. It is Hugh 
Latimer again! He is a little thinner than when 
we saw him in London; for he has exchanged a 
palace for a prison. The people still press upon 
him and make progress difficult; but this time they 
crowd around him that they may curse him! 
It is the old story of 'Hosannah!' one day and 
*Away with Him! Crucify Him!' the next. The 
multitude is a fickle master. Since we saw him in 

54 A Bunch of Everlastings 

the Strand, the crown has passed from one head 
to another; the court has changed its ways to 
gratify the whims of its new mistress; the Govern- 
ment has swung round to match the moods of the 
court; and the people, Hke sheep, have followed 
their leaders. They are prepared now to crown 
the men whom before they would have crucified, 
and to crucify the men whom they would then have 
crowned. But Hugh Latimer and his companion 
— for this time he is not alone — are not of the 
same accommodating temper. Hugh Latimer is 
still 'the honestest man in England !' His conscience 
is still his only monitor; his tongue is still free; his 
soul is not for sale ! And so — 

In Oxford town the faggots they piled, 
With furious haste and with curses wild, 
Round two brave men of our British breed, 
Who dared to stand true to their speech and deed; 
Round two brave men of that sturdy race, 
Who with tremorless souls the worst can face ; 
Round two brave souls who could keep their tryst 
Through a pathway of fire to follow Christ. 
And the flames leaped up, but the blinding smoke 
Could not the soul of Hugh Latimer choke; 
For, said he, 'Brother Ridley, be of good cheer, 
A candle in England is lighted here, 
Which by grace of God shall never go out!' — 
And that speech in whispers was echoed about — 
Latimer's Light shall never go out. 
However the winds may blow it about. 
Latimer's Light has come to stay 
Till the trump of a coming judgement day. 

'Bishop Ridley,' so runs the record, 'first entered 

Hugh Latimer's Text 55 

the lists, dressed in his episcopal habit; and, soon 
after, Bishop Latimer, dressed, as usual, in his 
prison garb. Master Latimer now suffered the 
keeper to pull off his prison-garb and then he ap- 
peared in his shroud. Being ready, he fervently 
recommended his soul to God, and then he delivered 
hirrtself to the executioner, saying to the Bishop of 
London these prophetical words: "We shall this 
day, my lord, light such a candle in England as shall 
never be extinguished !" ' 

But it is time that we went back forty years or 
so, to a time long before either of the processions 
that we have just witnessed took place. We must 
ascertain at what flame the light that kindled that 
candle was itself ignited. 


Very early in the sixteenth century, England was 
visited by one of the greatest scholars of the 
Renaissance, Desiderius Erasmus. After being 
welcomed with open arms at the Universities, he 
returned to the Continent and engrossed himself in 
his learned researches. At Cambridge, however, 
he had made a profound and indelible impression 
on at least one of the scholars. Thomas Bilney, 
familiarly known as 'Little Bilney,' was feeling, in 
a vague and indefinite way, the emptiness of the 
religion that he had been taught. He felt that 
Erasmus possessed a secret that was hidden from 
English eyes, and he vowed that, whatever it might 

56 A Bunch of Everlastings 

cost him, he would purchase every line that came 
from the great master's pen. In France, Erasmus 
translated the New Testament into Latin. The in- 
genuity and industry of Bilney soon secured for 
him a copy of the book. As to its effect upon him, 
he shall speak for himself. 'My soul was sick,' he 
says, 'and I longed for peace, but nowhere could 
I find it. I went to the priests, and they appointed 
me penances and pilgrimages; yet, by these things 
my poor sick soul was nothing profited. But at 
last I heard of Jesus. It was then, when first the 
New Testament was set forth by Erasmus, that 
the light came. I bought the book, being drawn 
thereto rather by the Latin than by the Word of 
God, for at that time I knew not what the Word of 
God meant. And, on the first reading of it, as I 
well remember, I chanced upon these words, "This 
is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, 
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sin- 
ners, of whoM I am chief." That one sentence, 
through God's inward working, did so lift up my 
poor bruised spirit that the very bones within me 
leaped for joy and gladness. It was as if, after a 
long, dark night, day had suddenly broke!' But 
what has all this to do with Hugh Latimer ? 


In those days Latimer was preaching at Cam- 
bridge, and all who heard him fell under the spell 
of his transparent honesty and rugged eloquence. 

Hugh Latimer's Text 57 

Latimer was then the sturdy champion of the old 
rehgion and the uncompromising foe of all who 
were endeavouring to introduce the new learning. 
Of all the friars, he was the most punctilious, the 
most zealous, the most devoted. Bilney went to 
hear him and fell in love with him at once. He 
saw that the preacher was mistaken; that his eyes 
had not been opened to the sublimities that had 
flooded his own soul with gladness ; but he recog- 
nised his sincerity, his earnestness and his resistless 
power; and he longed to be the instrument of his 
illumination. If only he could do for Latimter what 
Aquila and Priscilla did for Apollos, and expound 
unto him the way of God more perfectly ! It became 
the dream and desire of Bilney's Hfe. 'O God,' he 
cried, *I am but "Little Bilney," and shall never do 
any great thing for Thee; but give me the soul of 
that man, Hugh Latimer, and what wonders he 
shall do in Thy most holy Name!' 

Where there's a will there's a way! One day, 
as Latimer descends from the pulpit, he passes so 
close to Bilney that his robes almost brush the 
student's face. Like a flash, a sudden inspiration 
leaps to Bilney's mind. 'Prithee, Father Latimer,' 
he whispers, 'may I confess my soul to thee?' The 
preacher beckons, and, into the quiet room adjoin- 
ing, the student follows. 

Of all the strange stories that heartbroken peni- 
tents have poured into the ears of Father-Confessors 
since first the confessional was established, that was 

58 A Bunch of Everlastings 

the strangest ! Bilney falls on his knees at Latimer's 
feet and allows his soul, pent up for so long, to utter 
itself freely at last. He tells of the aching hunger 
of his heart; he tells of the visit of Erasmus; he 
tells of the purchase of the book; and then he tells 
of the text. 'There it stood,' he says, the tears 
standing in his eyes, 'the very word I wanted. It 
seemed to be written in letters of light: "This is 
a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, 
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sin- 
ners." O Father Latimer,' he cries, the passion of 
his fervour increasing as the memory of his own 
experience rushes back upon him, *I went to the 
priests and they pointed me to broken cisterns that 
held no water and only mocked my thirst! I bore 
the load of my sins until my soul was crushed be- 
neath the burden! And then I saw that "Christ 
Jesu^ came into the world to save sinners, of whom 
I am chief; and now, being justified by faith, I 
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus 
Christ I' 

Latimer is taken by storm. He is completely 
overwhelmed. He, too, knows the aching dissatis- 
faction that Bilney has described. He has experi- 
enced for years the same insatiable hunger, the 
same devouring thirst. To the astonishment of 
Bilney, Latimer rises and then kneels beside him. 
The Father-Confessor seeks guidance from his 
penitent! Bilney draws from his pocket the sacred 
volume that has brought such comfort and such 

Hugh Latimer's Text 59 

rapture to his own soul. It falls open at the passage 
that Bilney has read to himself over and over and 
over again : ^This is a faithful saying, and worthy 
of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the 
world to save sinners, of whom I am chief/ The 
light that never was on sea or shore illumines the 
soul of Hugh Latimer, and Bilney sees that the 
passionate desire of his heart has been granted him. 
And from that hour Bilney and Latimer lived only 
that they might unfold to all kinds and conditions 
of men the unsearchable riches of Christ. 


'This is a faithful saying!' That is the preacher's 
comfort. In the course of a recent tour through 
Western Australia, I was taken through the gold 
diggings. And, near Kanowna, I was shown the 
spot on which, years ago, there gathered one of 
the largest and most extraordinary congregations 
that ever assembled on this side of the world. It 
was whispered all over the diggings that an enor- 
mous nugget had been found and that Father Long, 
the local priest, had seen it and knew exactly where 
it was discovered. Morning, noon and night the 
young priest was pestered by eager gold-hunters 
for information; but to one and all his lips were 
sealed. At last he consented to announce publicly 
the exact locality of the wonderful find. At the 
hour fixed men came from far and near, some on 
horseback, some on camels, some in all kinds of 

6o A Bunch of Everlastings 

conveyances, and thousands on foot. It was the 
largest gathering of diggers in the history of the 
gold fields. At the appointed time Father Long ap- 
peared, surveyed the great sea of bronzed and 
bearded faces, and then announced that the 'Sacred 
Nugget' had been found in the Lake Gwynne coun- 
try. In a moment the crowd had vanished ! There 
was the wildest stampede for the territory to which 
the priest had pointed them. But as the days passed 
by, the disappointed seekers, in twos and threes, came 
dribbing wearily back. Not a glint of gold had been 
seen by any of them! And then the truth flashed 
upon them. The priest had been hoaxed! The 
'Sacred Nugget' was a mass of common metal 
splashed with gold paint! Father Long took the 
matter bitterly to heart; he went to bed a broken 
and humiliated man; and, a few months later, dis- 
consolate, he died! It was a great day in Hugh 
Latimer's life when he got among the 'faithful 
sayings,' the sayings of which he was certain, the 
sayings that could never bring to any confiding 
hearer the heartbreak and disgust of disappointment. 


'It is worthy of all acceptation!' It is worthy! 
It is worthy of your acceptance, your Majesty, for 
this proclamation craves no patronage ! It is worthy 
of your acceptance, your Excellency, your Grace, 
my Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen all, for the gospel 
asks no favours! It is worthy, worthy, worthy of 

Hugh Latimer's Text 6i 

the acceptance of you all! Hugh Latimer stood be- 
fore kings and courtiers, and declared that 'this is 
a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that 
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' 
Never once did he forget the dignity of his message : 
it was faithful; it was worthy in its own right of 
the acceptance of the lordliest; and he himself staked 
his life upon it at the last! 


Dr. Archibald Alexander, of Princeton, was for 
sixty years a minister of Christ; and for forty of 
those years he was a Professor of Divinity. No 
man in America was more revered or beloved. He 
died on October 22, 1851. As he lay adying, he was 
heard by a friend to say, 'All my theology is re- 
duced now to this narrow compass : "This is a 
faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that 
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." ' 
In life and in death Hugh Latimer was of pretty 
much the same mind. 




There is no doubt about John Bunyan's text. As 
a lover carves his lady's name on trees, signs it in 
mistake for his own, and mutters it in his sleep, so 
Bunyan inscribes everywhere the text that wrought 
his memorable deliverance. It crops up again and 
again in all his writings. The characters in his 
allegories, the dream-children of his fertile fancy, 
repeat it to each other as though it were a password, 
a talisman, a charm; he himself quotes it whenever 
the shadow of an opportunity presents itself; if it 
is not the text, it is at least the burden, of every 
sermon that he preaches. It sings itself through 
his autobiography like a repeating chorus, like an 
echoing refrain. By its radiance he extricates him- 
self from every gloomy valley and from every dark- 
some path. Its joyous companionship beguiles all 
his long and solitary tramps. It dispels for him the 
loneliness of his dreary cell. When no other visitor 
is permitted to approach the gaol, John Bunyan's 
text comes rushing to his memory as though on 
angel's wings. It sings to him its song of confi- 
dence and peace every morning; its music scatters 


John Bunyan's Text 63 

the gloom of every night. It is the friend of his 
fireside; the companion of his sohtude; the comrade 
of his travels ; the light of his darkness. It illumines 
his path amidst the perplexities of life; it wipes 
away his tears in the day of bitter sorrow; and it 
smooths his pillow in the hour of death. When a 
man habitually wears a diamond pin, you uncon- 
sciously associate the thought of his face with the 
thought of the gem that scintillates beneath it. In 
the same way, nobody can have become in the slight- 
est degree familiar with John Bunyan without 
habitually associating the thought of his honest and 
rugged personality with the thought of the text that 
he made so peculiarly his own. 


On the opening pages of Pilgrim's Progress we 
come upon the principal character, all clothed in 
rags, a heavy burden upon his back, greatly dis- 
tressed in mind, walking in the fields and crying, 
'What must I do to be saved ?' 

*Do you see yonder shining light?' asks Evan- 

*I think I do,' replied the wretched man. 

'Keep that light in your eye and go up directly 
thereto; so shalt thou see a gate, at which, when 
thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt 

The man comes in due course to the gate and 
knocks many times, saying: 

64 A Bunch of Everlastings 

May I now enter here? Will he within 
Open to sorry me, though I have been 
An undeserving rebel? Then shall I 
Not fail to sing his lasting praise on high. 

*I am willing with all my heart/ replies Good- 
Will, the keeper of the gate, 'we make no objec- 
tions against any. Notwithstanding all that they 
have done before they come hither, they are in no 
wise cast out!' 

So Christian enters in at the gate and sets out on 
pilgrimage. And there, at the very beginning of his 
new life, stands the first vague but unmistakeable 
suggestion of John Bunyan's text. 

'In no wise cast out!' 

'In no wise cast out!' 

'Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast 

There, over the portal of the pilgrim path, stands 
the text that gave John Bunyan to the world. 


It stands over the very portal of his pilgrim's 
path for the simple reason that it stands at the very 
beginning of his own religious experience. Let us 
turn from his allegory to his autobiography, 

'In no wise cast out!' he exclaims, 'Oh, the com- 
fort that I found in that word!' 

'In no wise cast out!' 

'In no wise cast out!' 

We all know the story of the wretchedness which 

John Biinyan's Text 65 

that great word dispelled. It is one of the most 
moving records, one of the most pathetic plaints, 
in the language, Bunyan felt that he was a blot 
upon the face of the universe. He envied the 
toads in the grass by the side of the road, and the 
crows that cawed in the ploughed lands by which 
he passed. They, he thought, could never know 
such misery as that which bowed him down. *I 
walked,* he says, in a passage that Macaulay felt 
to be specially eloquent and notable, *I walked to 
a neighbouring town, and sat down upon a settle 
in the street, and fell into a very deep pause about 
the most fearful state my sin had brought me to; 
and, after long musing, I lifted up my head; but 
methought I saw as if the sun that shineth in the 
heavens did grudge to give me light; and as if 
the very stones in the street, and tiles upon the 
houses, did band themselves against me. Me- 
thought that they all combined together to banish 
me out of the world. I was abhorred of them, and 
unfit to dwell among them, because I had sinned 
against the Saviour. Oh, how happy now was 
every creature over me, for they stood fast and kept 
their station. But I was gone and lost !* 

^Gone and lost!' 

'Gone and lost!' 

It was whilst he was thus lamenting his hopeless 
condition that the light broke. 'This scripture,' 
he says, *did most sweetly visit my soul : "and him 
that Cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out." O, 

66 A Bunch of Everlastings 

what did I now see in that blessed sixth of John! 
O, the comfort that I had from this word!' 

'In no wise cast out!' 

'In no wise cast out!' 

'Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast 

What was it that he saw in 'that blessed sixth 
of John'? What was the comfort that he found 
so lavishly stored there? The matter is worth in- 


In his pitiful distress, there broke upon the soul 
of John Bunyan a vision of the infinite approach- 
ability of Jesus. That is one of the essentials of 
the faith. It was for no other purpose that the 
Saviour of men left the earth and enshrined Him- 
self in invisibility. 'Suppose,' says Henry Drum- 
mond, 'suppose He had not gone away; suppose He 
were here now. Suppose He were still in the Holy 
Land, at Jerusalem. Every ship that started for 
the East would be crowded with Christian pilgrims. 
Every train flying through Europe would be 
thronged with people going to see Jesus. Every 
mail-bag would be full of letters from those in 
difficulty and trial. Suppose you are in one of those 
ships. The port, when you arrive after the long 
voyage, is blocked with vessels of every flag. With 
much difficulty you land, and join one of the long 
trains starting for Jerusalem. Far as the eye can 

John Bunyan's Text 67 

reach, the caravans move over the desert in an end- 
Iiess stream. As you approach the Holy City you see 
a dark, seething mass stretching for leagues and 
leagues between you and its glittering spires. You 
have come to see Jesus; but you will never see Him.' 
You are crowded out. Jesus resolved that this 
should never be. 'It is expedient for you,' he said, 
'that I go away.' He went away in order to make 
Himself approachable! John Bunyan saw to his 
delight that it is possible for the most unworthy 
to go direct to the fountain of grace. 

'Him that cometh to Me!' 

'Him that cometh to Me!' 

*Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast 

John Bunyan's text was a revelation to him of 
the approachahility of Jesus. 


In his pitiful distress there broke upon the soul 
of John Bunyan a vision of the infinite catholicity 
of Jesus. Therein lay for him the beauty of the 
text. In the darkest hours of his wretchedness he 
never had any doubt as to the readiness of the 
Saviour to welcome to His grace certain fortunate 
persons. Holy Master Gifford, for example, and 
the poor women whom he overheard discussing the 
things of the kingdom of God as they sat in the sun 
beside their doors, and the members of the little 
church at Bedford; concerning the salvation of these 

68 A Bunch of Everlastings 

people Bunyan was as clear as clear could be. But 
from such felicity he was himself rigidly excluded. 
'About this time/ he says, 'the state of happiness 
of these poor people at Bedford was thus, in a kind 
of a vision, presented to me. I saw as if they were 
on the sunny side of some high mountain, there 
refreshing themselves with the pleasant beams of 
the sun, while I was shivering and shrinking in 
the cold, afflicted with frost, snow, and dark clouds. 
Methought also, betwixt me and them, I saw a wall 
that did compass about this mountain. Now through 
this wall my soul did greatly desire to pass; con- 
cluding that, if I could, I would there also comfort 
myself with the heat of their sun.' But he could 
find no way through or round or over the wall. 
Then came the discovery of the text. 'This scrip- 
ture did most sweetly visit my soul; "and him that 
Cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." Oh ! the 
comfort that I had from his word, in no wise! As 
who should say, "By no means, for nothing what- 
ever he hath done." But Satan would greatly la- 
bour to pull this promise from me, telling me that 
Christ did not mean me and such as me, but sinners 
of another rank, that had not done as I had done. 
But I would answer him again. "Satan, here is in 
these words no such exception ; but him that cometh, 
him, any him; him that cometh to Me I will in no 
wise cast out." * 

'Him that cometh!' 

'Any him! Any him!' 

John Bunyan's Text 69 

'Him that cometh I will in no wise cast out!' 

Like the gate that swings open on hearing the 
magic 'sesame'; Hke the walls that fell at Jericho 
when the blast of the trumpets arose; the wall round 
Bunyan's mountain fell with a crash before that 
great and golden word. 'Hitn that cometh to Me 
I zvill in no wise cast out!' The barriers had van- 
ished ! The way was open ! 

'Him that cometh!' 

'Any him! Any him!' 

'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast 
out!' Here was a vision of the catholicity of Jesus ! 


In his pitiful distress there broke upon the soul 
of John Bunyan a vision of the infinite reliability 
of Jesus. It was the deep, strong accent of certainty 
that ultimately captivated all his heart. Times with- 
out number, he had come with a great 'perhaps' 
trembling on his lips. 'Often,' he tells us, 'when I 
had been making to the promise, I have seen as if 
the Lord would refuse my soul for ever, I was 
often as if I had run upon the pikes, and as if the 
Lord had thrust at me to keep me from him, as with 
a flaming sword. Then would I think of Esther, 
who went to petition the king contrary to the law. 
I thought also of Benhadad's servants, who went 
with ropes under their heads to their enemies for 
mercy. The woman of Canaan, that would not be 
daunted, though called 'dog' by Christ; and the 

70 A Bunch of Everlastings 

man that went to borrow bread at midnight, were 
also great encouragements to me.* But each was, 
after all, only the encouragement of a possibility, of 
a probability, of a 'perhaps.' 

Perhaps! Perhaps! Perhaps! 

In contrast with all this, the text spoke out its 
message bravely. 'Him that cometh to Me I will 
in no wise cast out!' 

'In no wise! In no wise! In no wise!' 

'Oh! the comfort that I had from this word: 
"in no wise!" ... If ever Satan and I did strive 
for any word of God in all my life, it was for this 
good word of Christ: he at one end and I at the 
other. Oh! what work we made! It was for this 
in John, I say, that we did so tug and strive; he 
pulled, and I pulled; but God be praised, I over- 
came him ; I got sweetness from it !' He passed at 
a bound from the Mists of the Valley to the Sun- 
light of the Summit. He had left the shadow- 
land of 'perhaps' for the luxurious sunshine of a 
glowing certainty. 'With joy,' he says, 'I told my 
wife: "Oh, now / know, I know, I know!" That 
was a good night to me ; I have had but few better. 
Christ was a precious Christ to my soul that night; 
I could scarce lie in my bed for joy and grace and 
triumph !' 

Perhaps! Perhaps! Perhaps! 

In no wise! In no wise! In no wise! 

I know! I know! I knoiv! 
Thus Bunyan found in the radiance that streamed 

John Bunyan's Text 71 

from 'that blessed sixth of John,' a revelation of 
the reliability of Jesus ! 


Those who have studied Butler's Analogy of 
Religion will recall the story that, in the introductory 
pages, Mr. Malleson tells of the illustrious author. 
When Bishop Butler lay upon his deathbed, Mr. 
Malleson says, an overwhelming sense of his own 
sinfulness filled him with a terrible concern. His 
chaplain bent over him and tried to comfort him. 

'You know, sir,' said the chaplain, 'that Jesus 
is a great Saviour!' 

'Yes,' replied the terror-stricken bishop. *I know 
that He died to save. But how shall I know that 
He died to save mef 

'My Lord,' answered the chaplain, 'it is written 
that him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast 

'True !' exclaimed the dying man, 'I am surprised 
that, though I have read that scripture a thousand 
times over, I never felt its virtue until this moment. 
Now I die happy !' 

And he did. 

So, too, pillowing his head upon the selfsame 
words, did Bunyan. 'His end,' says Froude, 'was 
characteristic. It was brought on by exposure 
when he was engaged in an act of charity. A 
quarrel had broken out in a family at Reading with 
which Bunyan had some acquaintance. A father 

73 A Bunch of Everlastings 

had taken some ofifence at his son, and threatened 
to disinherit him. Bunyan undertook a journey on 
horseback from Bedford to Reading in the hope of 
reconciUng them. He succeeded, but at the cost of 
his life. Returning by way of London, he was 
overtaken on the road by a storm of rain, and was 
drenched before he could find shelter. The chill, 
falling on a constitution already weakened by illness, 
brought on fever. In ten days he was dead. His 
last words were : "Take me, for I come to Thee !" ' 

7 come to Thee! I come to Thee!' 

'Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast 

The words that had lit up the path of his pil- 
grimage illumined also the valley of the shadow of 
death! The words that opened to him the realms 
of grace opened also the gates of glory! The words 
that had welcomed him at the Wicket Gate wel- 
comed him also to the Celestial City! 



It was a very happy bridegroom and a very happy 
bride that came to Lasswade Cottage early in 1798. 
They had been married on Christmas Eve; and, 
after a few days in Edinburgh, had come on to this 
pretty little home on the banks of the Esk. Walter 
Scott was twenty-six; not one of his books had 
been written; no thought of fame had visited him; 
he dreamed only the happiness that must be his in 
the new life that he had so recently entered; whilst 
she tells him that she is sure that he will rise in his 
profession, become a judge, and die immensely 
wealthy. Scott vows that he will make his riverside 
home the sweetest spot beneath the stars. He takes 
infinite pains in laying out the gardens and the 
lawns. In the years that followed he never looked 
upon any of his novels or biographies with greater 
pride than that with which he surveyed the mystic 
arch that he built with his own hands over the 
gate that opened on the Edinburgh Road. In this 
romantic home he spent some of the sunniest years 
of his life; and, as Lockhart points out, it was 
amongst these delicious solitudes that he produced 
the works that laid the imperishable foundations of 


74 A Bunch of Everlastings 

all his fame. As you stroll about this pretty garden, 
and mark the diligence with which this young hus- 
band of ours has trained all his flowers and creep- 
ers, I would have you step out on to ihe lawn. And 
here, in the centre of the lawn, is a sundial. Our 
happy young bridegroom ordered it before his mar- 
riage, and it has been made to his design. See 
how carefully he has planted the creepers around 
it! And, according to custom, he has had a motto 
engraved upon the dial, a motto of his own selec- 
tion. It consists of three Greek words : 'The Night 
Cometh!' Scott was not morbid; he was a great 
human. But in the sunshine of life's morning he 
solemnly reminded himself that high noon is not a 
fixture. The brightest day wears away to evening 
at last. He horrified his bride-elect by arranging, 
before his marriage, for a place of burial, 'What 
an idea of yours,' she says in a letter written a few 
days before the wedding, 'what an idea of yours 
was that to mention where you wish to have your 
bones laid ! If you were married I should think 
you were tired of me. A very pretty compliment 
before marriage! I hope sincerely that I shall not 
live to see that day. If you always have those 
cheerful thoughts, how very pleasant and gay you 
must be!' Poor, distressed little bride! But she 
soon found that her apprehensions were unfounded. 
Her lover was not as gloomy as she feared. 
He was reminding himself that the sunshine does 
not last for ever, it is true; but, just because the 

Sir Walter Scott's Text 75 

sunshine does not last for ever, he was vowing that 
he would make the most of it. *The Night Cometh,' 
he wrote upon the sundial on the lawn. *The night 
comethf therefore revel in the daylight whilst it 
lasts! 'I must work the works of Him that sent 
me whilst it is day; the night cometh when no man 
can work.' 


The inscription on Sir Walter Scott's sundial 
must have been suggested by the inscription on 
Dr. Johnson's watch. Scott was a great admirer 
of Johnson. In some respects there is a strong 
resemblance between them. Sir Alfred Dale, Vice- 
Chancellor of Liverpool University, recently re- 
ferred to them as *two of the most heroic and, 
at the same time, most pathetic figures in the annals 
of our literature.' Boswell's Life of Johnson, and 
Lockhart's Life of Scott are, by common consent, 
the two greatest biographies in the language. The 
former was a new book, and was still the talk of 
the town, in the days of Scott's courtship and mar- 
riage. And in that noble record of a noble life 
Scott had read Boswell's account of the glimpse 
that he once caught of the old doctor's watch. As 
Dr. Johnson drew it from his pocket one day, Bos- 
well noticed that on its face it bore a Greek in- 
scription. The inscription consisted of the three 
Greek words, 'The Night Cometh!' It reminded 
the doctor, whenever he consulted his watch, that 

76 A Bunch of Everlastings 

the daylight does not last for ever. 'Work whilst 
it is day' the watch seemed to say, 'for the night 
Cometh when no man can work!' 


It is 1 83 1. Scott is sixty now. It is thirty-three 
years since we saw him walking on the lawn at 
Lass wade Cottage with his bride. Then none of 
his books were written; now they are all complete. 
Fame and honour are most richly his. His poor 
bride, however, had her wish. 'The burial of your 
bones!' she wrote, in pretty scorn, in the midst 
of her preparations for the wedding. 'I hope sin- 
cerely that I shall not live to see that day!' She 
did not. She has been five years dead. The bril- 
liant sunshine of that early day has vanished; life 
is wearing towards its eventide. 'The Night 
Cometh!' Sir Walter is spending a day with old 
friends at Douglas. There is a sadness on his spirit 
that nothing can dispel; and once or twice, as he 
strides across old familiar landscapes, his compan- 
ions catch the glint of tears upon his cheek. It 
has been agreed that there shall be no company but 
friends of old standing, and among these is Mr. 
Elliott Lockhart, whom Scott has not seen for many 
years. Since they last met, both men have been 
very ill. In the old days they followed the hounds 
together, and Lockhart was as handsome a speci- 
men of a Border gentleman as ever cheered a 
hunting field. 'When they met now,' says the 

Sir Walter Scott's Text 77 

biographer, 'each saw his own case glassed in the 
other, and neither of their manly hearts could well 
contain itself as they embraced.' They part at 
night, Scott promising to call on his old friend in 
the course of his own homeward journey. 'But 
next morning, at breakfast, came a messenger to 
inform us that Mr. Lockhart, on returning to his 
own house, fell down in a fit, and that his life was 
despaired of. Immediately, although he had in- 
tended to remain two days. Sir Walter drew his 
host aside, and besought him to lend him horses 
as far as Lanark, for that he must set off with the 
least possible delay. He would listen to no per- 
suasions. *No, William,' he said, 'this is a sad 
warning. I must home to work while it is called 
day; for the night cometh when no man can work. 
I put that text many a year ago on my dialstone, 
but it often preached in vain.' It may have done. 
But anybody who surveys the long row of noble 
classics with which he has enriched our literature 
will feel that it must still more often have preached 
with remarkable effect. 


The Night! 

The Night Cometh! 

Was Sir Walter justified in reminding himself, 
amidst the dazzling sunshine of his wedding bliss, 
that the night cometh? Was old Dr. Johnson wise 
in confronting himself with that stern truth when- 

78 A Bunch of Everlastings 

ever he consulted his watch? Why not? Is the 
night an ugly thing? I recall a very familiar in- 
cident in the life of Thomas Carlyle. One lovely 
evening he and Leigh Hunt, the poet, strolled off 
together amidst scenery that was full of rugged 
grandeur and exquisite charm. Presently the stars 
shone out, and added immeasurably to the glory 
of the night. Both men gazed upon the heavens 
for some moments in silence; and then the poet, 
to whose soul they had been whispering of peace 
and happiness and love, burst into the rapturous 
exclamation, 'God the Beautiful!' Immediately, 
Carlyle, seeing only the dread majesty of heaven, 
sprang to his feet and exclaimed, 'God the Terrible!' 
And both were right. The Night is Beautiful as 
God is Beautiful! The Night is Terrible as God is 
Terrible! Carlyle dreaded the Night as Scott 
dreaded it, and as Johnson dreaded it. They all 
three trembled lest the Night should fall before they 
had finished the work which they had been ap- 
pointed to do. 'The only happiness that a brave 
man ever troubles himself much about,' I find 
Carlyle saying, *is happiness enough to get his work 
done. Not 'T can't eat !" but "I can't work !" that 
is the burden of all wise complaining men. It is, 
after all, the one unhappiness of a man that he 
cannot work; that he cannot get his destiny as a 
man fulfilled. Behold, the day is passing swiftly 
away, our life is passing over; and the night cometh 
wherein no man can zvork!' And who can forget 

Sir Walter Scott's Text 79 

those sledge-hammer sentences with which he con- 
cludes his 'Everlasting Yea' ? *I say now to myself, 
Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifullest 
infinitesimal fraction of a Product, produce it, in 
God's name! 'Tis the utmost thou hast in thee; 
out with it, then! Up; up! Whatsoever thy hand 
findeth to do, do it with thy whole might! Work 
while it is called To-day; for the Night cometh, 
wherein no man can work!' And so twice, at least, 
I find the Sage of Chelsea emphasising the text that 
made the Wizard of the North. 

'The Night Cometh!' says Dr. Johnson, and he 
has the words inscribed upon the face of his watch. 

'The Night Cometh!' says Sir Walter Scott, and 
he has the words engraved on the sundial on the 
lawn at Lasswade Cottage. 

'The Night Cometh!' says Thomas Carlyle in 
the pages of his first book, a book that was written 
among the mosshags of Craigenputtock before the 
world had even heard his name. 'Work while it is 
called To-day; for the Night cometh, wherein no 
man can work.' 

And these three — Johnson, Scott and Carlyle — 
became three of the most prodigious workers of all 


'The Night Cometh!' It came to Dr. Johnson, 
the Night that he had dreaded for so long! 'The 
infirmities of age,' says Macaulay, 'were creeping 

8o A Bunch of Everlastings 

fast upon him. That inevitable event of which he 
never thought without horror was brought near to 
him; and his whole life was darkened by the shadow 
of death.' It is not pleasant reading. Let us turn 
the page ! And what is this ? 'When at length the 
moment, dreaded through so many years, came 
close, the dark cloud passed away from Johnson's 
mind. His temper became unusually patient and 
gentle; he ceased to think with terror of death, and 
of that which lies beyond death ; and he spoke much 
of the mercy of God and of the propitiation of 
Christ.' His faith triumphed over all his fears; 
he talked with rapture of the love of God; he 
pointed his friends to the Cross; and he confi- 
dently resigned his soul to his Saviour. *The Night 
Cometh!' he had said to himself with a shudder, 
over and over and over again. But when it came, 
that night was as tranquil as an infant's slumber 
and illumined by a million stars. The night that 
follows a great day's work well done is never a 
very terrible affair. 


'The Night Cometh!' It came to Sir Walter 
Scott, the Night of which the sundial had spoken 
so effectively and so long. We have all dwelt with 
lingering fondness on that closing scene. Here he 
is, at Abbots ford, surrounded by his grandchildren 
and his dogs. He is too feeble to rise, but, at his 
desire, they wheel him round the lawns in a bath- 

Sir Walter Scott's Text 81 

chair. He strokes the hair of the children; pats 
the dogs on the heads; and pauses to admire his 
favourite roses. 

'I have seen much in my time,' he whispers softly, 
'but nothing like my ain house — give me one turn 
more !' 

Exhausted by his ride, and by the tumult of 
emotions that it has awakened, the dying man is 
put to bed. Next morning he asks to be wheeled 
into the library. They place his chair against the 
central window that he may look down on the 
shining waters of the Tweed. He glances round 
upon the shelves containing his thousands of be- 
loved books. 

'Read to me !' he says to Lockhart. 

'From what book shall I read?' 

'Need you ask? There is but one!' 

Lockhart takes down the Bible, and opens it at 
the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John. 

'Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, 
believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many 
mansions; if it zvere not so, I woidd have told you. 
I go to prepare a place for you . . .' And so on. 
The matchless cadences that have soothed and sof- 
tened and sweetened a million deathbeds fall like a 
foretaste of the eternal harmonies upon the sick 
man's ear. 

'This is a great comfort — * great comfort,' he 

He lingers for a while; but the atmosphere of 

82 A Bunch of Everlastings 

that conversation by the Hbrary window enfolds 
him to the last. The Night comes; and with the 
Night come weariness and restfulness and tired 
hands gently folded. 


There is only one way of preparing for the night. 
We must work! That is what Jesus said. 'We 
must work while it is called To-day; the Night 
Cometh when no man can work!' A good day's 
work means a good night's rest. Johnson and Scott 
and Carlyle had learned that secret, but it was from 
Him that they learned it. And they became the men 
that they were because they took His words and 
engraved them on their watches and on their sun- 
dials. Yes, on their watches and on their sundials — 
and on their hearts! 


Oliver Cromwell ranks among the giants. Mr. 
Frederic Harrison sets his name among the four 
greatest that our nation has produced. Carlyle's 
guffaw upon hearing this pretty piece of patronage 
would have sounded like a thunderclap! Four, in- 
deed ! Carlyle would say that the other three would 
look like a trio of travelling dwarfs grouped about a 
colossus when they found themselves in the com- 
pany of Oliver Cromwell. Carlyle can see nothing 
in our history, nor in any other, more impressive 
than the spectacle of this young farmer leaving his 
fields in Huntingdonshire, putting his plough in the 
shed, and setting out for London to hurl the king 
from his throne, to dismiss the Parliament, and to 
reconstitute the country on a new and better basis. 
He was the one Strong Man ; so much stronger than 
all other men that he bent them to his will and 
dominated the entire situation. Cromwell made 
history wholesale. How? That is the question — 
How? And what if, in our search for an answer 
to that pertinent question, we discover that it was 
by means of a textf Let us go into the matter. 


84 A Bunch of Everlastings 


My suspicions in this direction were first aroused 
by reading a letter that Cromwell wrote to his 
cousin, Mrs. St. John, before his public career had 
begun. In this letter he refers to himself as *a poor 
creature.' *I am sure,' he says, 'that I shall never 
earn the least mite.' Here is strange language for 
a man who, confident of his resistless strength, will 
soon be overturning thrones and tossing crowns 
and kingdoms hither and thither at his pleasure! 
Is there nothing else in the letter that may help us 
to elucidate the mystery? There is! He goes on 
to tell his cousin that, after all, he does not entirely 
despair of himself. Just one ray of hope has shone 
upon him, one star has illumined the blackness of 
his sky. 'One beam in a dark place/ he says, 'hath 
much refreshment in it!' He does not tell his cousin 
what that ray of hope is; he does not name that 
solitary star; he does not go into particulars as to 
that 'one beam in a dark place.' But we, for our 
part, must prosecute our investigations until we have 
discovered it. 


It is sometimes best to start at the end of a 
thing and to work backwards to the beginning. 
We will adopt that plan in this instance. One who 
was present at the closing scene has graphically 
described it for us. 'At Hampton Court,' he says, 

Oliver Cromwell's Text 85 

'being sick nigh unto death, and in his bed-chamber, 
Cromwell called for his Bible and desired an hon- 
ourable and godly person to read unto him 
that passage in the fourth of Philippians which 
saith, "/ can do all things through Christ that 
strengtheneth me." Which read, he observed, "This 
scripture did once save my life, when my eldest 
son, poor Robert, died, which went as a dagger to 
my heart, indeed it did !" ' 

This does not tell us much; but it sets our feet 
in the path that may lead to more. And at any 
rate it makes clear to us what that 'one beam' was 
that so often had much refreshment in it. 7 can 
do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.' 


Groping our way back across the years by the 
aid of the hint given us in those dying words, we 
come upon that dark and tragic day, nineteen years 
earlier, when the 'son of good promise' died. Un- 
fortunately, the exact circumstances attending the 
death of the young man have never been recorded. 
Even the date is shrouded in mystery. Nobody 
knows in which battle he fell. Perhaps the father 
was too full of grief and bitterness to write for us 
that sad and tragic tale. All that we know is what 
he told us on his deathbed. He says that 'it went 
like a dagger to my heart, indeed it did' ; and he 
says that it brought to his aid the text — the 'one 
beam in a dark place' — that saved his life. It was 

86 A Bunch of Everlastings 

not the first time, as we shall see, that that animating 
and arousing word had come, like a relieving army 
entering a beleaguered city, to his deliverance. But 
the pathos of that heart-breaking yet heart-healing 
experience impressed itself indelibly upon his mem- 
ory; the tale was written in tears; it rushed back 
upon him as he lay a-dying; and very often, in the 
years that lay between his son's death and his own, 
he feelingly referred to it. In July, 1644, ^o^ ^^" 
ample, I find him writing a letter of sympathy to 
Colonel Valentine Walton, whose son has also fallen 
on the field of battle. And in this noble yet tender 
epistle, Cromwell endeavours to lead the stricken 
father to the fountains of consolation at which he 
has slaked his own burning thirst. 'Sir,' he says, 
'God hath taken away your eldest son by a cannon- 
shot. You know my own trials this way, but the 
Lord supported me. I remembered that my boy 
had entered into the happiness we all pant for and 
live for. There, too, is your precious child, full of 
glory, never to know sin or sorrow any more. He 
was a gallant young man, exceedingly gracious. 
God give you His comfort ! You may do all things 
through Christ that strengthcncth us. Seek that, 
and you shall easily bear your trial. The Lord be 
your strength!' 

7 can do all things through Christ that strength- 
cncth me!' 

'This scripture,' he says, as he lies upon his death- 
bed, 'did once save my life!' 

Oliver Cromwell's Text 87 

'Seek that!' he says to Colonel Walton, 'seek that! 
seek that!' 


But we must go back further yet. We are tracing 
the stream, but we have not reached the fountain- 
head. That deathbed testimony at Hampton Court 
was delivered in 1658. It was in 1639, ^^ there- 
abouts, that Robert, his eldest son, was lying dead. 
On each of these occasions the text wonderfully 
supported him. But, in each case, it came to him 
as an old friend and not as a new acquaintance. 
For it was in 1638 — the year before Robert's death 
and twenty years before the father's — that Crom- 
well wrote to his cousin, Mrs. St. John, about the 
'one beam in a dark place that hath such exceedingly 
great refreshment in it.' When, then, did that 
beam break upon his darksome path for the first 

Carlyle thinks that it was in 1623. Cromwell 
was then in his twenty- fourth year, with all his life 
before him. But we may as well let Carlyle speak 
for himself. 'At about this time took place,' he 
says, 'what Cromwell, with unspeakable joy, would 
name his conversion. Certainly a grand epoch for 
a man; properly the one epoch; the turning-point 
which guides upwards, or guides downwards, him 
and his activities for evermore! Wilt thou join 
with the Dragons; wilt thou join with the Gods? 
Oliver was henceforth a Christian man; believed in 

88 A Bunch of Everlastings 

God, not on Sundays only, but on all days, in all 
places, and in all cases.' 

In 1623 it was, then: but how? Piecing the 
scraps together, a mere hint here and a vague sug- 
gestion there, I gather that it was somewhat in this 
way. In 1623 all things were rushing pellmell to- 
wards turgid crisis, wild tumult and red revolution. 
At home and abroad the outlook was as black as 
black could be. The world wanted a man, a good 
man, a great man, a strong man, to save it. Every- 
body saw the need; but nobody could see the man. 
Down in Huntingdonshire a young farmer leans on 
the handles of his plough. 

'The world needs a man, a good man, a great 
man, a strong man !' says his Reason. And then he 
hears another voice. 

'Thou art the man!' cries his Conscience, with 
terrifying suddenness; and his hands tremble as 
they grasp the plough. 

That evening, as he sits beside the fire, his young 
wife opposite him, and little Robert in the cot by his 
side, he takes down his Bible and reads. He turns 
to the epistle to the Philippians, at the closing chap- 
ter. He is amazed at the things that, by the grace 
divine, Paul claims to have learned and achieved. 

'It's true, Paul,' he exclaims, 'that you have 
learned this and attained to this measure of 
grace; but what shall 7 do? Ah, poor creature, 
it is a hard, hard lesson for me to take out ! I find 
it so!' 

Oliver Cromwell's Text 89 

Poring over the sacred volume, however, he 
makes the discovery of his Hfetime, *I came,' 
he says, *to the thirteenth verse, where Paul saith, 
"I can do all things through Christ which strength- 
eneth me." Then faith began to work, and my 
heart to find comfort and support; and I said to 
myself, "He that was Paul's Christ is my Christ 
too!" And so I drew water out of the Wells of 
Salvation !' 

And now we have reached the fountain-head 
at last! 


And so the clodhopper became the king! It was 
the text that did it! Considered apart from the 
text, the life of Cromwell is an insoluble mystery, 
a baffling enigma. But take one good look at the 
text: observe the place that it occupied in Crom- 
well's heart and thought: and everything becomes 
plain. 'That such a man, with the eye to see and 
with the heart to dare, should advance, from post 
to post, from victory to victory, till the Huntingdon 
Farmer became, by whatever name you call him, 
the acknowledged Strongest Man in England, vir- 
tually the King of England, requires,' says Carlyle, 
*no magic to explain it.' Of course not! The text 
explains it. For see ! 

What is a king? In his French Revolution, 
Carlyle says that the very word 'king' comes from 
Kon-ning Can-ning, the Man Who Can, the Man 

90 A Bunch of Everlastings 

Who is Able ! And that is precisely the burden of 
the text. 

'/ can do all things through Christ which strength- 
eneth me' ; so the Authorised Version has it. 

'In Him who strengthens me I am able for any- 
thing'; so Dr. Moffatt translates the words. 

'For all things I am strong in Him who makes 
me able'; thus Bishop Moule renders it. 

A King, says Carlyle, is an Able Man, a Strong 
Man, a Man who Can. Here is a ploughman who 
sees that the world is perishing for want of just 
such a King. How can he, weak as he is, become 
the world's Strong Man, the world's Able Man, the 
world's King? The text tells him. 

7 can do all things,' he cries, 'through Him that 
strengtheneth me!' 

The Strong Man was made and the world was 


A man — at any rate such a man as Cromwell — 
can never be content to enjoy such an experience 
as this alone. No man can read the Life or Letters 
of the Protector without being touched by his 
solicitude for others. He is forever anxious that 
his kindred and friends should drink of those 
wondrous waters that have so abundantly refreshed 
and invigorated him. After quoting his text to 
Colonel Walton, he urges him to seek that same 
strengthening grace which he himself has received. 

Oliver Cromwell's Text 91 

'Seek that!' he says; 'seek that!' 

It is the keynote of all his correspondence. *I 
hope/ he writes to the Mayor of Hursley in 1650, 
'I hope you give my son good counsel; I believe he 
needs it. He is in the dangerous time of his age, 
and it is a very vain world. O how good it is to 
close with Christ betimes ! There is nothing else 
worth looking after !' 

'Seek that strength!' he says to Colonel Walton. 

'Seek that Sazdour!' he says to his wayward son. 

'Seek that which will really satisfy!' he says to his 

It always seems to me that the old Puritan's 
lovely letter to that daughter of his, the letter from 
which I have just quoted, is the gem of Carlyle's 
great volume. Bridget was twenty-two at the time. 
'Your sister,' her father tells her, 'is exercised with 
some perplexed thoughts. She sees her own vanity 
and carnal mind, and bewailing it, she seeks after 
what will satisfy. And thus to be a seeker is to be 
of the best sect next to a finder, and such an one 
shall every faithful humble seeker be at the end. 
Happy seeker ; happy finder ! Dear heart, press on ! 
Let not husband, let not anything cool thy affections 
after Christ!' 

With which strong, tender, fatherly words from 
the old soldier to his young daughter we may very 
well take our leave of him. 



It is one of the most stirring dramas of the faith 
— a drama in three acts, 


Scene: * Neath the Shadow of the Pyrenees. 

He is a gay young cavalier. It is the golden age 
of Spanish story. Ferdinand and Isabella have 
brought the whole world to their feet. Castile 
speaks; the peoples tremble; no dog dares bark. 
Spain is mistress of mart and of main. Columbus 
has just added a new hemisphere to her wide do- 
minions. The atmosphere of Europe is trilling 
with music and tingling with sensation. And, in 
the very year in which the discoverer of America 
died, our cavalier is born. His home — a splendid 
palace — adorns the pine-clad slopes of the stately 
Pyrenees. Its turrets seem to point proudly to the 
snow-clad heights that glitter gloriously above. He 
was cradled in the lap of luxury. He caught the 
spirit of the romantic period, and flung himself with 
a will into its revelries and chivalries. Life becomes 
a frolic to him. He is a champion in every tussle 
for the trophies of the field ; he is first in every con- 


Francis Xavier's Text 93 

test for the laurels of the schools. In running and 
in fencing, in singing and in dancing, he is without 
a rival. The chalice of life sparkles as he lifts it 
to his lips, and his eyes gleam as he quaffs the 
intoxicating cup. In camp, in castle and in court 
none are more admired, more applauded, more be- 
loved. He is the darling of society. And so, amid 
scenes of splendour and of gaiety, denied nothing 
that can minister to his vanity or increase his de- 
light, five-and-thirty years whirl themselves merrily 


Scene: By the Banks of the Seine. 

He is in Paris. Even now, in the early part of 
the sixteenth century, it is a centre of gaiety. He 
is in his thirty-sixth year. His enthusiasm for 
pleasure has yielded somewhat to his thirst for 
knowledge, and his love of learning has begotten a 
laudable desire to teach. He is lecturing; and 
among his hearers a strange, ungainly figure hovers 
in the background. This student of his is a man 
of fifty, but looks older still. His name is Ignatius 
Loyola. He is bent and broken, and is pitifully 
lame. But the fire of a holy enthusiasm burns in 
his eye. He has marked the brilliant young teacher 
for his own, and is determined to win him. He 
makes friends. After each utterance he con- 
gratulates the lecturer, and adds significantly: 'But 

94 A Bunch of Everlastings 

what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world 
and lose his own soulf 

The whole world! His own soul! 

To gain the world! To lose his soul! 

'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole 
world and lose his own soulf 

He lounges with the lecturer in the solitude of 
the study, he accompanies him in his evening walks 
along the banks of the Seine ; they explore together 
the dense woodlands which occupy the site of future 
Parisian suburbs. But whether in springtide ram- 
bles among the lilies and the daffodils, or in riverside 
strolls by sunset, or in halls of feasting and music 
and pleasure, or in silent study, or in the stately 
academy, the strange student asks, and repeats, and 
asks again one incessant question : 

'But what shall it profit a man if he gain the 
whole world and lose his own soulf 

The whole world! His own soul! 

To gain the zvorld! To lose his soul! 

'But what shall it profit a man if he gain the 
whole zvorld and lose his own soul?' 

A hundred times, as he painfully hobbles along 
beside his brilliant young master, the deformed 
pupil reiterates his unanswerable query. And at 
last, the master mind capitulates to the pitiless and 
resistless logic of that immortal question. The 
great professor becomes the lowliest of penitents. 
Student and lectuier kneel side by side, and, in a 
tempest of tears, the young lecturer dedicates all 

Francis Xavier's Text 95 

that is left of life to that Saviour into whose awful 
presence his student has ushered him. The lecturer 
has learned more from his listener than he could 
ever have imparted. 


Scene: On the Seashore of Siam. 

He is a monk. His face is drawn with suffering. 
Fasts and vigils have left their mark. But, great 
as are the tortures of his body, the anguish of his 
mind is greater still. Having himself heard the 
Story of the Cross, a new idea haunts and possesses 
him. He is horrified by the fearful reflection that 
the nations sit in darkness and know not the light 
which has irradiated him. Not a moment must be 
lost! Thousands are dropping daily into Christless 
graves! It is an alarming and terrifying discovery! 
He will set out at once, and the peoples shall hear 
from his own lips the story of redeeming love! 
There are no trains or coaches. He will tramp 
through the world till his limbs are swollen and his 
nerves are numb. He sets out. He visits India, 
and hastening from province to province, picks up 
the languages as he goes along by happy intercourse 
with little children. He stands one day amidst the 
dazzling splendour of an Oriental palace; on the 
next, he pays court to a rajah and his native staff; 
on the third he moves amongst the filthy huts of the 
fisher-folk of Malabar, But every day, and every- 

96 A Bunch of Everlastings 

where, he tells with agony and tears, his strange and 
wondrous tale. Ridiculed, stoned and persecuted, 
he presses tirelessly on, always uplifting the Cross 
with his right hand, and with his left, ringing the 
bell that summons the people to attend. Having 
made converts, and planted churches, he loses not 
an hour, but hurries off in search of fresh fields to 
add to his Divine conquest. He labours for twenty- 
one hours out of every twenty-four. In the course 
of ten short years he learns and preaches in twenty 
different languages. Now he begs a passage in a 
troopship, and anon he sails with idolatrous pirates 
and blasphemous corsairs. He tumbles about the 
oceans in vessels that would not now be permitted to 
navigate a river. And at sea, as on land, the passion 
of his sacred purpose consumes him still. He haunts 
the forecastle, pleading, one by one, with every sol- 
dier and sailor on the troopship. He proclaims to 
robbers and to slaves the glowing words of life 
eternal. Across burning deserts and over snowy 
ranges he threads his fearless way. The fierce blaze 
of equatorial suns, and the piercing cold of slippery 
mountain glaciers, alike fail to baffle or deter him. 
He throws himself into scenes of battle and of car- 
nage that he may strive for the souls of the wounded 
and the dying. Whilst the very earth rocks beneath 
his feet, he stands on the shuddering slopes of 
blazing volcanoes that, amidst scenes of exquisite 
and majestic horror, he may urge the panic-stricken 
natives to flee from the wrath to come. He visits 

Francis Xavier's Text 97 

leper settlements, and, with all the tenderness of a 
woman, nurses hideous human wrecks the very sight 
of whom would sicken a less intrepid spirit. He 
boards ships whose crews are perishing of loathsome 
pestilence, and, unafraid of contracting their disgust- 
ing maladies, he ministers to the diseased, and kneels 
beside the prostrate forms of the dying. He comes 
like a ghost upon wild, untutored inland tribes; he 
bursts into the island territories of fierce and un- 
tamed cannibals. He invades the secret lair of the 
bandit, and penetrates to the lonely tent of the Bed- 
ouin. He passes spectrally from shore to shore. 
He startles armies on the march, and arrests the 
progress of the journeying caravan. His limbs are 
often paralysed with fatigue. He tramps across 
continents until, from sheer exhaustion, he drops 
upon the hard and inhospitable soil; and then, 
having rested for an hour, he rises and staggers on 
again. He dares death in every form; he shakes 
hands with every ailment and disease ; he endures all 
the pangs of hunger and all the horrors of thirst; 
he suffers desolating shipwreck and bitter persecu- 
tion. He can rejoice in any privation if he may but 
uplift the Cross on every shore, and preach the 
gospel to every creature. And it is always observed 
that, on whatever coast he lands, and in whatever 
language he preaches, whether he addresses the 
nabobs of Mysore or the Mikado of Japan, whether 
he speaks on the deck of a pirate or in the hovel of 
a slave, he echoes endlessly one everlasting question : 

98 A Bunch of Everlastings 

'But what shall it profit a man if he gain the 
whole world and lose his own soul?' 

The whole world! His own soul! 

To gain the world! To lose his soul! 

'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole 
world and lose his own soul?' 

At last, absolutely worn out after ten short 
strenuous years, at the age of forty-five, he lays 
his wasted, worn, emaciated frame upon the sea- 
beach of Siam, and, unnursed and untended, re- 
signs his soul to God. He dies, as he lived, with 
a smile upon his face. His winsomeness was as 
wonderful as 'his daring. Little children simply 
revelled in his company. His life is the most 
stinging rebuke that history has ever administered 
to apathy. His record is a stimulus to every church, 
and a challenge to every age. It must quicken the' 
blood, and fire the fervour, of good men till his 
great Master come. It will accelerate the trium- 
phant progress of all noble enterprises till time shall 
be no more. 

>|C 5jC 3jC 57C 5|C SjC 

And the rest of the acts of Francis Xavier, and 
all that he did, and the things that he suffered, and 
the peoples that he reached, and the churches that 
he planted, are they not written in the book of the 
Chronicles of Christendom? 



He is an old man of twenty-five! Nobody, seeing 
him to-night, would suspect that he had seen so few 
winters; and nobody would suspect that forty- four 
summers, filled with sunshine and with song, lie 
between him and his grave. Here he sits at a bare 
table, in an empty, cheerless room. He shivers, for 
he is hungry, and he is insufficiently clad. His thin 
arms are folded on the table, and his haggard face 
rests upon them. He feels that he has come to the 
fag-end of everything. He has just completed seven 
dark and dreadful years. 'During those years,' as 
he himself tells us, with a shudder, in the brighter 
after-days, 'during those years I wandered over 
God's beautiful earth like an unblessed spirit. It 
was like being driven by whips across a burning 
desert : I was for ever digging deep wells to quench 
my maddening thirst, and for ever bringing up 
nothing but the hot, dry sand! Seven years of 
darkness! Seven years of slavery! Seven years of 
dissipation! Seven years of sin!' 

But let us not be too swift to pity! Pity, like 
charity, must be intelligent; it is too sacred a thing 
to be wasted or squandered. It does not follow, 


.^ rv O O 

loo A Bunch of Everlastings 

because this man is ragged and wretched, that he 
is therefore poor. He is rich; and it is only in 
such extremities of distress that men discover their 
buried wealth. To-night, sitting in despair within 
this squalid room, he suddenly finds himself pos- 
sessed of incalculable treasure! Memory yields up 
her golden hoard! There rush back upon him the 
tender, hallowed, clustering associations of his early 
days: the village church, the Sunday School, and, 
best of all, the dear old English home. As he sits 
here in this squalid room, his outer-self is on one 
side of the Atlantic whilst his inmost soul is on the 
other. His gaunt frame, disfigured by the life that 
he has lived, is in Massachusetts; but his heart, 
flying on the wings of fancy, is back among the 
sweet and fragrant fields of his Kentish home. And, 
the centre and soul of all those radiant recollections, 
he sees the sad and wistful face of his mother. His 
face is still buried in his ragged sleeves, so the tears 
do not show ; but they are there. 

'Oh, that mother of mine!' Gough used to say; 
'she was one of Christ's nobility, and she possessed 
a patent signed and sealed with His redeem- 
ing blood ! She was poor in purse, but rich in 
piety; a brave, godly woman! She died a pauper 
and was buried without a shroud and without a 
prayer; but she left her children a legacy that has 
made them wealthier than peers and princes! I 
remember one night, towards the close of her life, 
sitting with her in the garret, and we had no candle. 

J. B. Oough's Text loi 

She said to me, "John, I am growing blind ; I don't 
feel it much ; but you are young, and it is hard for 
you to have a poor, blind mother. But never mind, 
John; there is no night in heaven and no need of 
any candle there ; the Lamb is the light thereof !" 
Oh, that mother of mine ! She is neither poor nor 
blind now; she has left that dark and gloomy garret 
to bask in the sunshine of her Saviours smiles!' 
And it was his mother, or at least the fond, clear 
memory of his mother, that came to his relief in the 
hour of his most dire extremity. That is a way that 
mothers have ! But let him tell the story in his own 

'All at once,* he says, *it seemed as if the very 
light she left as she passed had spanned the dark 
chasm of those seven dreadful years, struck the 
heart, and opened it. The passages of Scripture 
that she had taught me, and that had been buried 
in my memory, came to me as if they were being 
whispered in my ear by the loving lips of my mother 
herself. "He is able to save to the uttermost them 
that come unto God by Him." It is the very thing 
I need ! I want to be saved — I cannot save myself — 
He is able to save to the uttermost! — Then He is 
the Saviour for me !' 

I said that, poor as he seemed, this youth of 
twenty-five owned 'buried treasure' ! 

That text, he says, was 'buried in my memory!' 

'He is able to save to the uttermost them that come 
unto God by Him!' 

I03 A Bunch of Everlastings 

See, he rises at last; draws his sleeve across his 
eyes; pulls himself together; and, clutching at that 
text as a drowning man clutches at his rescuer's 
hand, he walks out of that cheerless room in the 
power of an endless life. 


This, then, was J. B. Cough's text. Not that he 
held any proprietary rights in it. John Bunyan 
would dispute any such pretensions. *At another 
time,' says Bunyan, *I was much under this ques- 
tion. Whether the blood of Christ was sufficient to 
save my soul? in which doubt I continued from 
morning till about seven or eight at night: and at 
last, when I was, as it were, quite worn out with 
fear, lest it should not lay hold on me, these words 
did sound suddenly within my heart : "He is able." 
But methought, this word "able" was spoke loud 
unto me; it showed a great word, it seemed to be 
writ in great letters, and gave such a jostle to my 
fear and doubt as I never had before or after. For 
"He is able to save to the uttermost them that come 
unto God by Him." ' 

'Is there salvation for me, even for me?' asks 
J. B. Gough, in his despair. 

*Is the blood of Christ sufficient to save my soul, 
even mine ?' asks John Bunyan, in that anxious hour. 

And to both of them there came the same reply : 
'He is able to save to the uttermost I' 

*It is a great word !' says Cough. 

J. B. Gough's Text 103 

*It seems to be writ in great letters!' says Bun- 

And by that gallant and assuring word they were 
both greatly delivered. 


In the fairy story that beguiled our infancy, the 
Three Giants confronted the hero just as he was 
setting out on his romantic quest. J. B. Gough 
had a precisely similar experience. On the very 
threshold of the new life three tyrannical figures 
arose and endeavoured to drive him back to slavery. 
Their names ? The name of the first was Yesterday; 
the name of the second was To-day; and the name 
of the third was To-morrozv. 

Giant Yesterday pointed out with terrific empha- 
sis that the past is absolutely indelible. What's done 
can never be undone! There are some things that 
even God cannot do; and this is one of them. 

Wounds of the soul, though healed, will ache; 
The reddening scars remain 

And make confession; 
Lost innocence returns no more; 
We are not what we were 

Before transgression I 

To the end of his days, Gough was haunted by 
the grim ghosts of those seven terrible and re- 
morseless years. *I have suffered,* he cried, 'and 
come out of the fire scorched and scathed with the 
marks upon my person and with the memory of it 

I04 A Bunch of Everlastings 

burnt right into my soul!' He likened his life to a 
snowdrift that had been sadly stained. No power 
on earth can restore its former purity and white- 
ness. 'The scars remain! the scars remain!' he 
used to say, with bitter self-reproaches. Giant 
Yesterday pointed to the black, black past derisively ; 
held it as a threat over the poor penitent's bowed 
and contrite head ; and told him in tones that sounded 
like thunder-claps that there was no escape. 

Giant To-day points to things as they are : 'Look 
at yourself !' the tyrant exclaims. 'Facts are facts ; 
your present condition is a fact ; how can you evade 
it?' Gough throws himself back in a chair and gives 
rein to his fancy. A vision, or, rather, a series of 
visions, come to him. Before him stands a bright, 
fair-haired, blue-eyed, beautiful boy, with rosy 
cheeks and pearly teeth and ruby lip — the perfect 
picture of innocence and peace, health, purity and 


'Who are you ?' Gough asked. 

*I am your Past; I am what you Were!' 

Another figure appears. The youth has become 
a man. He looks born to command. Intellect 
flashes from the eye; the noble brow speaks of 
genius trained and consecrated; it is a glorious 

'And who are you!' Gough asks again. 

*I am your Ideal; I am what you Might Have 
Been!' Then there creeps slowly into the bare room 
a wretched thing, unkempt and loathsome, it is 

J. B. Gough's Text 105 

manacled, hard and fast; the face is furrowed and 
filthy; the Hp is swollen and repulsive; the brow is 
branded as the throne of sensuality; the eyes glare 
wildly and are bleared and dim. 

'And who are you ?' Gough again demands. 

'I am your Present; I am what you Are!' By 
this expressive shadow-show, Giant To-day sought 
to frighten a trembling spirit from its rich inherit- 

And as for Giant To-morrow, his case is ready- 
made. 'It is easy enough to be religious to-day,' 
he says, 'but what of to-morrow, and the next day, 
and all the days that are coming? If one tempta- 
tion fails to overthrow you, another will surely 
bring you down !' And Gough, who knows the cruel 
strength of each temptation, feels the force of what 
these monsters say. 


The Three Giants withdraw, leaving Gough in 
the depths of despair. How can he venture upon 
the Christian life? He has only to review his own 
indelible Past; he has only to contemplate his hu- 
miliating Present; he has only to conjure up the 
sinister probabilities of the unpromising Future, in 
order to recognise the sheer audacity of such a step. 
Can he reasonably hope to keep his vow through all 
the years ahead ? Many a race is lost at the last lap ; 
many a ship is wrecked on the reefs outside its final 
port ; many a battle is lost on the last charge ; what 

io6 A Bunch of Everlastings 

hope has he of completing the course upon which he 
proposes to venture? He feels that it is hopelessly 
beyond him. 

And it is at this critical juncture that the text 
comes bravely to his rescue. 

'I am not able !' moans the distracted penitent. 

'He is able !' replies the text. 

'I should falter before I had finished!' says 

*He is able to save to the uttermost,' answers the 
text. To the uttermost — to the very last inch of the 
very last yard of the very last mile ! To the utter- 
most — to the very last minute of the very last hour 
of the very last day! 'He is able to save to the 
uttermost them that come unto God by Him, seeing 
He ever liveth to make intercession for them/ 

And thus the Three Giants are discomfited and 
put to confusion. And Gough enters into a peace 
that only becomes deeper and fuller and richer and 
sweeter as the long and busy years go by. 


Every man carries in his soul a note of exclama- 
tion and a note of interrogation. But we do not place 
them similarly. The leper in the Gospels put the 
note of exclamation against the ability of Christ to 
cleanse him, and the note of interrogation against 
His willingness to save. Tf Thou wilt, Thou canst 
make me whole 1' 

J. B. Oough's Text 107 

Thou canst!!! 

If Thou wilt??? 

Most of us find the prevailing wind blowing from 
the opposite quarter. We give the Saviour credit 
for a certain amiable willingness to help us; but, 
knowing as we do all that the Three Giants have to 
say, we doubt His ability to deliver. We put the 
notes of exclamation and of interrogation the other 

Thou wilt!!! 

If Thou canst??? 

But, as J. B. Gough discovered on that never- 
to-be-forgetten day, the Christian message is a 
revelation of a limitless ability to deliver. It 
is never a try ; it is always a triumph. We have wit- 
nessed this desperate struggle in a squalid room at 
Massachusetts — the struggle of an enslaved soul 
after freedom. Let us go back a hundred years. 
Exactly a century before this scene was enacted in 
an American attic, a dramatic episode marked the 
historic ministry of Philip Doddridge at Northamp- 
ton. An Irishman named Connell was convicted 
of a capital offence and sentenced to be publicly 
hanged. Mr. Doddridge, at great trouble and ex- 
pense, instituted a most rigid scrutiny, and proved, 
beyond the possibility of a doubt, that Connell was 
a hundred and twenty miles away when the crime 
was committed. The course of judgement could not, 
however, be deflected. Connell was asked if he had 
any request to make before setting out for the 

loS A Bunch of Everlastings 

gallows. He answered that he desired the proces- 
sion to pause in front of the house of Mr. Philip 
Doddridge, that he might kneel on the minister's 
doorstep and pray for the man who had tried to 
save him. 

'Mr. Doddridge,' he cried, when the procession 
halted, 'every hair of my head thanks you; every 
throb of my heart thanks you; every drop of my 
blood thanks you ; for you did your best to save me !' 

Mr. Doddridge was willing to save. 

Mr. Doddridge did his best to save. 

Mr. Doddridge was not able to save. 

But *He is able to save to the uttermost them that 
come unto God by Him!' That is the glory of the 
Gospel that won the heart of Gough that day and 
held him a glad captive through all the fruitful years 
that followed. 


Mr. Chesterton says that *God paints in many 
colours, but He never paints so gorgeously as when 
He paints in white.' The crimson of the sunset ; the 
azure of the ocean; the green of the valleys; the 
scarlet of the poppies; the silver of the dewdrops; 
the gold of the gorse; these are exquisite — so per- 
fectly beautiful, indeed, that we cannot imagine an 
attractive heaven without them. God paints in many 
colours; but in the soul of J. B. Gough He paints 
in white; and we feel that here the divine art is at 
its very best. Forty-four crowded and productive 

J. B. Gough's Text 109 

years have passed since that grim struggle in the 
squahd room. Gough is again in America, address- 
ing a vast audience of young men at Philadelphia. 

'Young men,' he cries, perhaps with a bitter mem- 
ory of those seven indelible years, 'Young men, keep 
your record clean!' 

He pauses: it is a longer pause than usual; and 
the audience wonders. But he regains his voice. 

'Young men,' he repeats more feebly this time, 
'keep your record clean!' 

Another pause, longer than before. But again 
he finds the power of speech. 

'Young men,' he cries a third time, but in a thin, 
wavering voice, 'young men, keep your record clean !' 

He falls heavily on the platform. Devout men 
carry him to his burial, and make lamentation over 
him. His race is finished; his voyage completed; 
his battle won. The promise has been literally and 
triumphantly fulfilled. The grace that saved him 
has kept him to the very last inch of the very last 
yard of the very last mile; to the very last minute 
of the very last hour of the very last day; for 'He 
is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto 
God by Him!' 



Some men are not born to die. It is their prerogative 
to live; they come on purpose. A thousand deaths 
will not lay them in a grave. No disease from within, 
no danger from without, can by any means destroy 
them. They bear upon their faces the stamp of the 
immortal. In more senses than one, they come into 
the world for good. Among such deathless men 
John Knox stands out conspicuously. When in 
Edinburgh it is impossible to believe that John Knox 
lived four hundred years ago. He is so very much 
alive to-day that it seems incredible that he was 
living even then. The people will show you his 
grave in the middle of the road, and the meagre 
epitaph on the flat tombstone will do its feeble best 
to convince you that his voice has been silent for 
centuries; but you will sceptically shake your head 
and move away. For, as you walk about the noble 
and romantic city, John Knox is everywhere ! He is 
the most ubiquitous man you meet. You come upon 
him at every street corner. Here is the house in 
which he dwelt; there is the church in which he 
preached; at every turn you come upon places that 
are haunted by him still. The very stones vibrate 


John Knox's Text m 

with the strident accents of his voice ; the walls echo 
to his footsteps. I was introduced to quite a number 
of people in Edinburgh; but I blush to confess that 
I have forgotten them all — all but John Knox. It 
really seems to me, looking back upon that visit, 
that I met John Knox somewhere or other every 
five minutes. I could hear the ring of his voice; I 
could see the flash of his eye; I could feel the im- 
press of his huge and commanding personality. The 
tomb in the middle of the road notwithstanding, 
John Knox is indisputably the most virile force in 
Scotland at this hour. I dare say that, like me, he 
sometimes catches sight of that tomb in the middle 
of the road. If so, he laughs — as he could laugh — 
and strides defiantly on. For John Knox was born 
in 1505 and, behold, he liveth and abideth for ever! 


John Knox, I say, was born in 1505. In 1505, 
therefore, Scotland was born again. For the birth 
of such a man is the regeneration of a nation. Life 
in Knox was not only immortal; it was contagious. 
Because of Knox, Carlyle affirms, the people began 
to live! 'In the history of Scotland,' says Carlyle, 
himself a Scotsman, *in the history of Scotland I 
can find but one epoch : it contains nothing of world- 
interest at all, but this Reformation by Knox.* But 
surely, surely, the sage is nodding ! Has Carlyle for- 
gotten Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns and all 
Scotland's noble contribution to literature, to in- 

112 A Bunch of Everlastings 

dustry, to religion and to life? But Carlyle will not 
retract or modify a single word. 'This that Knox 
did for his nation,' he goes on, 'was a resurrection 
as from death. The people began to live! Scotch 
literature and thought, Scotch industry ; James Watt, 
David Hume, Walter Scott, Robert Burns: I find 
John Knox acting in the heart's core of every one 
of these persons and phenomena ; I find that without 
him they would not have been.' So much have I 
said in order to show that, beyond the shadow of 
a doubt, if a text made John Knox, then that text 
made history. 


*Go!' said the old reformer to his wife, as he 
lay a-dying, and the words were his last, 'go, read 
where I cast my first anchor !' She needed no more 
explicit instructions, for he had told her the story 
again and again. It is Richard Bannatyne, Knox's 
serving-man, who has placed the scene on record. 
'On November 24, 1572,' he says, 'John Knox de- 
parted this life to his eternal rest. Early in the 
afternoon he said, "Now, for the last time, I com- 
mend my spirit, soul and body" — pointing upon his 
three fingers — "into Thy hands, O Lord!" There- 
after, about five o'clock, he said to his wife, "Go, 
read where I cast my first anchor!" She did not 
need to be told, and so she read the seventeenth of 
John's evangel.' Let us listen as she reads it ! 'Thou 
hast given Him authority over all flesh, that He 

John Knox's Text 113 

should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast 
given Him, and this is life eternal, that they might 
know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ 
zvhom Thou hast sent.' 

Here was a strange and striking contrast ! 

'Eternal Life! Life Eternal!' says the Book. 

Now listen to the laboured breathing from the 

The Bed speaks of Death; the Book speaks of 
Life Everlasting! 

*Life!' the dying man starts as the great cadences 
fall upon his ear. 

*This is Life Eternal, that they might know Thee!' 

*Life Eternal!' 

*It was there,' he declares with his last breath, *it 
was there that I cast my first anchor !' 


How was that first anchor cast? I have tried to 
piece the records together. Paul never forgot the 
day on which he saw Stephen stoned; John Knox 
never forgot the day on which he saw George Wish- 
art burned. Wishart was a man 'of such grace' — 
so Knox himself tells us — *as before him was never 
heard within this realm.' He was regarded with an 
awe that was next door to superstition, and with an 
affection that was almost adoration. Are we not 
told that in the days when the plague lay over 
Scotland, 'the people of Dundee saw it approaching 
from the west in the form of a great black cloud? 

114 ^ Bunch of Everlastings 

They fell on their knees and prayed, crying to the 
cloud to pass them by, but even while they prayed 
it came nearer. Then they looked around for the 
most holy man among them, to intervene with God 
on their behalf. All eyes turned to George Wishart, 
and he stood up, stretching his arms to the cloud, 
and prayed, and it rolled back.' Out on the borders 
of the town, however, the pestilence was raging, 
and Wishart, hastening thither, took up his station 
on the town wall, preaching to the plague-stricken 
on the one side of him and to the healthy on the 
other, and exhibiting such courage and intrepidity 
in grappling with the awful scourge that he became 
the idol of the grateful people. In 1546, however, 
he was convicted of heresy and burned at the foot 
of the Castle Wynd, opposite the Castle Gate. When 
he came near to the fire, Knox tells us, he sat down 
upon his knees, and repeated aloud some of the most 
touching petitions from the Psalms. As a sign of 
forgiveness, he kissed the executioner on the cheek, 
saying : *Lo, here is a token that I forgive thee. My 
harte, do thine office!' The faggots were kindled, 
and the leaping flames bore the soul of Wishart 
triumphantly skywards. 

And there, a few yards ofif , stands Knox ! Have 
a good look at him! He is a man 'rather under 
middle height, with broad shoulders, swarthy face, 
black hair, and a beard of the same colour a span 

John Knox's Text 115 

and a half long. He has heavy eyebrows, eyes deeply 
sunk, cheekbones prominent and cheeks ruddy. The 
mouth is large, the lips full, especially the upper one. 
The whole aspect of the man is not unpleasing; and, 
in moments of emotion, it is invested with an air 
of dignity and majesty.' Knox could never shake 
from his sensitive mind the tragic yet triumphant 
scene near the Castle Gate; and when, many years 
afterwards, he himself turned aside to die, he 
repeated with closed eyes the prayers that he had 
heard George Wishart offer under the shadow of 
the stake. 

Was it then, I wonder, that John Knox turned 
sadly homeward and read to himself the great High 
Priestly prayer in *the seventeenth of John's evan- 
gel'? Was it on that memorable night that he 
caught a glimpse of the place which all the redeemed 
hold in the heart of the Redeemer? Was it on that 
melancholy evening that there broke upon him the 
revelation of a love that enfolded not only his 
martyred friend and himself, but the faithful of 
every time and of every clime? Was it then that 
he opened his heart to the magic and the music of 
those tremendous words : 'Thou hast given Him 
authority over all Hesh, that He should give eternal 
life to as many as Thou hast given Him; and this is 
life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.' 
Was it then? I cannot say for certain. I only know 
that we never meet with Knox in Scottish story until 

ii6 A Bunch of Everlastings 

after the maryrdom of Wishart; and I know that, 
by the events of that sad and tragic day, all his soul 
was stirred within him. But, although I do not 
know for certain that the anchor was first cast then, 
I know that it was first cast there. *Go!* he said, 
with the huskiness of death upon his speech, 'read 
me where I cast my first anchor!' And his wife 
straightway read to him the stately sentences I have 
just re-written. 

^Life Eternal!' 

'This is Life Eternal!' 

'This is Life Eternal, that they might know Thee!' 

*It was there, there, there, that I cast my first 
anchor !' 


Fierce as were the storms that beat upon Knox 
during the great historic years that followed, that 
anchor bravely held. To say nothing of his ex- 
periences at Court and the powerful efforts to coax 
or to cow him into submission, think of those twelve 
years of exile, eighteen months of which were spent 
on the French galleys. We catch two furtive 
glimpses of him. The galley in which he is chained 
makes a cruise round the Scottish coast. It passes 
so near to the fair fields of Fife that Knox can dis- 
tinctly see the spires of St. Andrew's. At the 
moment, Knox was so ill that his life was despaired 
of; and the taunting vision might well have broken 
his spirit altogether. But the anchor held; the an- 

John Knox's Text 117 

chor held ! 'Ah !' exclaimed Knox, raising himself 
on his elbow, *I see the steeple of that place where 
God first in public opened my mouth to His glory; 
and I am fully persuaded, how weak soever I now 
appear, that I shall not depart this life till that my 
tongue shall glorify His godly name in the same 
place.' Again, as Carlyle tells, *a priest one day 
presented to the galley-slaves an image of the Virgin 
Mother, requiring that they, the blasphemous here- 
tics, should do it reverence. "Mother? Mother of 
God ?" said Knox, when the turn came to him, "This 
is no Mother of God; this is a piece of painted wood ! 
She is better for swimming, I think, than for being 
worshipped !" and he flung the thing into the river.' 
Knox had cast his anchor in the seventeenth of 
John's evangel. 

'This is life eternal, that they might know 

And since he had himself found life eternal in the 
personal friendship of a Personal Redeemer, it was 
intolerable to him that others should gaze with su- 
perstitious eyes on *a bit of painted wood.' 

The thing fell into the river with a splash. It 
was a rude jest, but an expressive one. All the 
Reformation was summed up in it. Eternal life 
was not to be found in such things. ^This is life 
eternal, that they might know Thee.' That, says 
Knox, is where I cast my first anchor ; and, through 
all the storm and stress of those baffling and eventful 
years, that anchor held! 

iiS A Bunch of Everlastings 


Nor was there any parting of the cable or drag- 
ging of the anchor at the last, Richard Bannatyne, 
sitting beside his honoured master's deathbed, heard 
a long, long sigh. A singular fancy overtook him. 

'Now, sir,' he said, 'the time to end your battle 
has come. Remember those comfortable promises 
of our Saviour Jesus Christ which you have so often 
shown to us. And it may be that, when your eyes 
are blind and your ears deaf to every other sight 
and sound, you will still be able to recognise my 
voice. I shall bend over you and ask if you have 
still the hope of glory. Will you promise that, if 
you are able to give me some signal, you will do so?' 

The sick man promised, and, soon after, this is 
what happened: 

Grim in his deep death-anguish the stern old champion lay, 
And the locks upon his pillow were floating thin and grey, 
And, visionless and voiceless, with quick and labouring breath, 
He waited for his exit through life's dark portal. Death. 

'Hast thou the hope of glory?' They bowed to catch the 

That through some languid token might be responsive still, 
Nor watched they long nor waited for some obscure reply, 
He raised a clay-cold finger, and pointed to the sky. 

So the death-angel found him, what time his bow he bent. 

To give the struggling spirit a sweet enfranchisement. 

So the death-angel left him, what time earth's bonds were 

The cold, stark, stiffening finger still pointing up to heaven. 

John Knox's Text 119 

'He had a sore fight of an existence,' says Carlyle, 
'wrestHng with Popes and Principalities; in defeat, 
contention, Hfe-long struggle; rowing as a galley- 
slave, wandering as an exile. A sore fight : but he 
won it! "Have you hope?" they asked him in his 
last moment, when he could no longer speak. He 
lifted his finger, pointed upward, and so died! 
Honour to him! His works have not died. The 
letter of his work dies, as of all men's; but the spirit 
of it, never.' Did I not say in my opening sentences 
that John Knox was among the immortal humans? 
When he entered the world, he came into it for good 1 


'This is life eternal, that they might know Thee!' 
*That,' says Knox, with his dying breath, 'that is 
where I cast my first anchor !* It is a sure anchor- 
age, O heart of mine! Cast thine anchor there! 
Cast thine anchor in the oaths and covenants of the 
Most High ! Cast thine anchor in His infallible, im- 
mutable, unbreakable Word! Cast thine anchor in 
the infinite love of God! Cast thine anchor in the 
redeeming grace of Christ! Cast thine anchor in 
the everlasting Gospel! Cast thine anchor in the 
individual concern of the individual Saviour for the 
individual soul ! Cast thine anchor there ; and, come 
what may, that anchor will always hold ! 


Have a good look at him, this shy, shuddering, frail 
little fellow of six, for rough hands are waiting to 
hustle him on to the coach and to pack him off to a 
distant boarding-school! He is a quivering little 
bundle of nerves; slight of figure; with pale, pinched 
face, and eyes swollen with chronic inflammation. 
He starts at every sound in the daytime, and throws 
the bedclothes over his head at night that he may 
not be scared to death by the ghostly shadows that 
flit across the wall. His mother, his sole source of 
comfort, has just died : that is why he is being sent 
away from home. The memory of her was ever 
afterwards the one star that illumined his dark sky. 
Late in his life, a picture of her was presented to him ; 
and his ecstasy knew no bounds. 'The world,' he 
wrote to the giver, 'could not have furnished you 
with a present so acceptable to me as the picture 
which you have so kindly sent me. I received it the 
night before last, and received it with a trepidation 
of nerves and spirits somewhat akin to what I should 
have felt had its dear original presented herself to 
my embrace. I kissed it and hung it where it is the 
last object which I see at night, and the first on 


William Cowper's Text 121 

which I open my eyes in the morning. Her memory 
is to me dear beyond expression.' And then, turning 
to the picture itself, he breaks into poetry : 

Oh, that those lips had language! Life has passed 
With me but roughly since I heard thee last. 
Those lips are thine — thy own sweet smile I see, 
The same that oft in childhood solaced me. 
My mother, when I learn'd that thou wast dead, 
Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed? 
Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unfelt, a kiss; 
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss. 
I heard the bell toll'd on thy burial day; 
I saw the hearse that bore thee slow away. 
Thy maidens, grieved themselves at my concern, 
Oft gave me promise of thy quick return. 
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went, 
Till, all my stock of infant sorrow spent, 
I learn'd at last submission to my lot, 
But, though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot 1 

So his mother dies and leaves him — a queer, un- 
welcome heritage — to his father. And his father, 
utterly bewildered by the boy's odd fancies and er- 
ratic ways, has resolved to get out of the difficulty 
by banishing him to a boarding-school. At the 
boarding-school he is badgered and bullied and 
beaten without respite and without mercy; and to 
the last day of his life he never thinks of the horrid 
place without a shudder. 

Have a good look at him, I say, before they bun- 
dle him into the cavernous interior of the old coach. 
For, in spite of everything, this little parcel of timid, 
quivering sensibility is going to make history. It 

122 A Bunch of Everlastings 

frequently happens that, when a man drops into his 
grave, his fame gradually subsides until his memory 
entirely perishes. With Cowper a diametrically op- 
posite principle has been at work. More than a cen- 
tury has elapsed since he quitted the scene of his 
labours; and during that period the lustre of his 
fame has steadily grown. Time was when it was 
the fashion to pooh-pooh the claims of Cowper. 
*Did he not,' it was asked contemptuously, 'did he 
not on several occasions attempt suicide and spend 
much of his time in a mad-house?* This, of course, 
is indisputable; but it is also true that almost any 
young fellow of nervous temperament and frail con- 
stitution would lose his reason, and seek some violent 
means of escape from the horrors of life, if his 
malady were treated as it was customary to treat 
such cases a century and a half ago. The marvel is 
that from so frail a personality, so pitilessly treated, 
we have inherited poetry that will be cherished as 
long as the language lasts. 


It is the glory of Cowper that he stands among 
our pioneers. England had wrapped herself in 
gloomy and sullen silence. Literary genius seemed 
dead. Then, all at once, the country became like 
a grove at sunrise. And the first note heard was 
the note of William Cowper. Dr. Arnold, in talking 
to his boys at Rugby, used to call him 'the singer of 
the dawn.' Goldwin Smith declares that he is the 

William Cowper's Text 123 

most important poet between the time of Pope and 
the time of Wordsworth. In one of his best essays, 
Macaulay says that Byron contributed more than 
any other writer, more even than Sir Walter Scott, 
to the hterary brilHance of the period; and he is 
careful to emphasize the fact that it was Cowper who 
called that fruitful era into being. 'Cowper,' he 
says, 'was the forerunner of the great restoration 
of our literature ;* and a little further on he declares 
that, 'during the twenty years which followed the 
death of Cowper, the revolution in English poetry 
was fully consummated.* So there he stands, hold- 
ing, and holding for all time, a place peculiarly his 
own in our British life and letters. He is an at- 
tractive, if a somewhat depressing, figure. A feeble, 
sensitive and highly-strung physique; a mental 
wreck; a would-be suicide; a passionate lover of all 
forms of animal life; the author of some of our 
quaintest humour and some of our most sacred 
hymns; his life was, as Byron expressively said, a 
singular pendulum, swinging ever between a smile 
and a tear. Few poets are more human, more sim- 
ple, more unaffected, more restful than he ; few are 
more easy to read. His 'John Gilpin,' his 'Alexander 
Selkirk,' his 'Boadicea,' and 'My Mother's Picture' 
were among the first poems we learned in our school- 
books; some of his verses will be among the last 
we shall care to remember. Perhaps his most force- 
ful and pathetic epitaph was written by Mrs. Brown- 
ing, in words as true as they are sorrowful j — 

124 A Bunch of Everlastings 

O poets, from a maniac's tongue was poured the deathless 


O Christians, at your cross of hope a hopeless hand was 

clinging 1 
O men, this man in brotherhood your weary paths beguiling. 
Groaned inly while he taught you peace, and died while you 

were smiling! 


But it is time that we asked ourselves a question. 
What was it that so distracted this sensitive brain? 
What was it that almost broke this gentle and cling- 
ing spirit ? What was it that again and again drove 
Cowper to attempt his own destruction? There is 
only one answer. It was his sin, *My sin; my sin!* 
he cries from morning till night, and, very often, 
from night until morning. *0h, for some fountain 
open for sin and uncleanness !' But he can find no 
such fountain anywhere. He is like the old lama, 
in Kipling's Kim, who was continually searching for 
the River, the River of the Arrow, the River that 
can cleanse from sin! But, like the lama, he can 
nowhere find those purifying waters. And because 
his frenzied quest is so fruitless and so hopeless, he 
seeks relief in a premature death. But every rash 
attempt fails, and, failing, adds to his consternation ; 
for he feels that, in attempting suicide, he has com- 
mitted the unpardonable sin, and his plight is a thou- 
sand times worse than it was before. He has been 
told of the Fountain, but he can never find it. He 
has been told of the Lamb of God that taketh away 
the sin of the world ; but he knows not how to ap^ 

William Cowper's Text 125 

proach Him. He longs for *a light to shine upon the 
road that leads us to the Lamb,' but the darkness 
only grows more dense. Then, when the blackness 
of the night seems impenetrable, day suddenly 
breaks ! 


Cowper is a patient at Dr. Cotton's private lunatic 
asylum. In those days such asylums usually broke 
the bruised reed and quenched the smoking flax. 
But, happily for William Cowper and the world, 
Dr. Cotton's is the exception. Dr. Cotton is himself 
a kindly, gracious and devout old man ; and he treats 
his poor patient with sympathy and understanding. 
And, under this treatment, the change comes. Cow- 
per rises one morning feeling better : he grows cheer- 
ful over his breakfast ; takes up the Bible, which in 
his fits of madness he always threw aside, and, 
opening it at random, lights upon a passage that 
breaks upon him like a burst of glorious sunshine. 
Let him tell the story. 'The happy period which was 
to shake off my fetters and afford me a clear opening 
of the free mercy of God in Christ Jesus was now 
arrived. I flung myself into a chair near the win- 
dow, and, seeing a Bible there, ventured once more to 
apply to it for comfort and instruction. The first 
verses I saw were in the third of Romans : "Being 
justified freely by His grace through the redemption 
that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to 
be a propitiation, through faith in His blood, to 

126 A Bunch of Everlastings 

manifest His righteousness." Immediately I re- 
ceived strength to believe, and the full beams of the 
Sun of Righteousness shone upon me. I saw the 
sufficiency of the atonement He had made, my 
pardon in His blood, and the fulness and complete- 
ness of His justification. In a moment I believed 
and received the gospel.' 

Side by side with this illuminating experience of 
Cowper's let me set a strikingly similar experience 
which befel John Bunyan exactly a hundred years 
before. To the soul of Bunyan the self-same text 
brought the self -same deliverance. *Now,' he says, 
*my soul was clogged with guilt, and was greatly 
pinched between these two considerations, Live I 
must not, die I dare not. Now I sunk and fell in 
my spirit, and was giving up all for lost; but as I 
was walking up and down in the house, as a man in 
a most woeful state, that word of God took hold 
of my heart, "Ye are justified freely by His grace, 
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom 
God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith 
in His blood, to manifest His righteousness." Oh, 
what a turn it made upon me! I was as one 
awakened out of some troublesome dream.' 

'What a turn it made upon me!' says John Bun- 
yan in 1656. 

'What a turn it made upon me!' says William 
Cowper in 1756. 

William Cowper's Text 127 

For the argument of that great text is irresistible. 
If the love of God be so great as to provide such a 
Saviour, how could He be eager for the condemna- 
tion of the guiltiest? If the grace of God be so freely 
outpoured in justifying energy, how could any man 
be beyond the pale of hope? And if God is so 
anxious for the salvation of men that He has set 
forth — underlined, emphasised, explained, made 
bravely prominent — this propitiation, why should 
even the most timorous of mortals draw back 
in terror? 

For Cowper, from that moment, the whole world 
was changed, 'Huntingdon,' says one of his biogra- 
phers, 'seemed a paradise. The heart of its new 
inhabitant was full of the unspeakable happiness that 
comes with calm after storm, with health after the 
most terrible of maladies, with repose after the burn- 
ing fever of the brain. When first he went to 
Church, he was in a spiritual ecstasy; it was with 
difficulty that he restrained his emotions ; though his 
voice was silent, being stopped by the intensity of 
his feelings, his heart within him sang for joy; and 
when the gospel for the day was read, the sound of 
it was more than he could bear. This brightness of 
his mind communicated itself to all the objects 
around him, to the sluggish waters of the Ouse, to 
dull, fenny Huntingdon, and to its commonplace 

'What a turn it made upon me!' says Bunyan in 

128 A Bunch of Everlastings 

'What a turn it made upon me!' says Cowper in 
1756. And again he breaks into poetry: 

I was a stricken deer that left the herd 
Long since; with many an arrow deep infixed 
My panting side was charged, when I withdrew 
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades. 
There was I found by one who had himself 
Been hurt by the archers. In his side he bore 
And in his hands and feet the cruel scars, 
With gentle force soliciting the darts, 
He drew them forth and healed and bade me live. 

The long-sought fountain is found! The Hght 
has shone upon the road that leads him to the Lamb ! 


*It is the word of a gentleman of the most strict 
and sacred honour, so there's an end of it!' says 
Livingstone to himself as he places his finger for the 
thousandth time on the text on which he stakes his 
life. He is surrounded by hostile and infuriated 
savages. During the sixteen years that he has spent 
in Africa, he has never before seemed in such im- 
minent peril. Death stares him in the face. He 
thinks sadly of his life-work scarcely begun. For 
the first time in his experience he is tempted to steal 
away under cover of the darkness and to seek safety 
in flight. He prays! 'Leave me not, forsake me 
not !' he cries. But let me quote from his own jour- 
nal : it will give us the rest of the story. 

'January 14, 1856. Evening. Felt much turmoil 
of spirit in prospect of having all my plans for the 
welfare of this great region and this teeming popu- 
lation knocked on the head by savages to-morrow. 
But I read that Jesus said: "All power is given 
unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, 
and teach all nations, and lo, I am with you alway, 
even unto the end of the world/' It is the word of 
a gentleman of the most strict and sacred honour, 


I30 A Bunch of Everlastings 

so there's an end of it! I will not cross furtively 
to-night as I intended. Should such a man as I 
flee ? Nay, verily, I shall take observations for lati- 
tude and longitude to-night, though they may be the 
last. I feel quite calm now, thank God !' 

The words in italics are underlined in the journal, 
and they were underlined in his heart. Later in the 
same year, he pays his first visit to the Homeland. 
Honours are everywhere heaped upon him. The 
University of Glasgow confers upon him the degree 
of Doctor of Laws. On such occasions the recipient 
of the honour is usually subjected to some banter 
at the hands of the students. But when Livingstone 
rises, bearing upon his person the marks of his strug- 
gles and sufferings in darkest Africa, he is received 
in reverential silence. He is gaunt and haggard as 
a result of his long exposure to the tropical sun. On 
nearly thirty occasions he has been laid low by the 
fevers that steam from the inland swamps, and these 
severe illnesses have left their mark. His left arm, 
crushed by the lion, hangs helplessly at his side. A 
hush falls upon the great assembly as he announces 
his resolve to return to the land for which he has 
already endured so much. 'But I return,' he says, 
'without misgiving and with great gladness. For 
would you like me to tell you what supported me 
through all the years of exile among people whose 
language I could not understand, and whose atti- 
tude towards me was always uncertain and often 
hostile? It was this: "Lo, I am with you alway, 

David Livingstone's Text 131 

even unto the end of the world!" On those words I 
staked everything, and they never failed !' 

'Leave me not, forsake rne not!' he prays. 

'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of 
the world!' comes the response. 

'It is the word of a gentleman of the most strict 
and sacred honour, so there's an end of it!' he tells 

On that pledge he hazarded his all. And it did 
not fail him. 


When, I wonder, did David Livingstone first 
make that text his own? I do not know. It must 
have been very early. He used to say that he never 
had any difficulty in carrying with him his father's 
portrait because, in The Cottar's Saturday Night,' 
Robert Burns had painted it for him. Down to the 
last morning that he spent in his old home at Blan- 
tyre, the household joined in family worship. It 
was still dark when they knelt down that bleak 
November morning. They are up at five. The 
mother makes the coffee: the father prepares to 
walk with his boy to Glasgow; and David himself 
leads the household to the Throne of Grace. The 
thought embedded in his text is uppermost in his 
mind. He is leaving those who are dearer to him 
than life itself ; yet there is One on whose Presence 
he can still rely. 'Lo, I am with you alway, even 
unto the end of the world.' And so, in selecting the 

132 A Bunch of Everlastings 

passage to be read by lamplight in the little kitchen 
on this memorable morning, David selects the Psalm 
that, more clearly than any other, promises him, on 
every sea and on every shore, the Presence of his 
Lord. 'The Lord is thy keeper. The sun shall not 
smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord 
shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve 
thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out 
and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for 
evermore.' After prayers comes the anguish of fare- 
well. But the ordeal is softened for them all by the 
thought that has been suggested by David's reading 
and by David's prayer. In the grey light of that 
wintry morning, father and son set out on their 
long and cheerless tramp. I remember, years ago, 
standing on the Broomielow, on the spot that wit- 
nessed their parting. I could picture the elder man 
turning sadly back towards his Lanarkshire home, 
whilst David hurried off to make his final prepara- 
tions for sailing. But, deeper than their sorrow, 
there is in each of their hearts a song — the song of 
the Psalm they have read together in the kitchen — 
the song of the Presence — the song of the text! 

'Leave me not, forsake me not!' cries the lonely 

'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of 
the world!' 

'It is the word of a gentleman of the most strict 
and sacred honour, so there's an end of it!' 

And with that song singing itself in his soul, 

David Livingstone's Text 133 

David Livingstone turns his face towards darkest 


If ever a man needed a comrade, David Living- 
stone did. Apart from that divine companionship, 
his is the most lonely life in history. It is doubtless 
good for the world that most men are content to 
marry and settle down, to weave about themselves 
the web of domestic felicity, to face each day the 
task that lies nearest to them, and to work out their 
destiny without worrying about the remote and the 
unexplored. But it is equally good for the world 
that there are a few adventurous spirits in every age 
who feel themselves taunted and challenged and 
dared by the mystery of the great unknown. As long 
as there is a pole undiscovered, a sea uncharted, a 
forest untracked or a desert uncrossed, they are 
restless and ill at ease. It is the most sublime form 
that curiosity assumes. From the moment of his 
landing on African soil, Livingstone is haunted, 
night and day, by the visions that beckon and the 
voices that call from out of the undiscovered. For 
his poor wife's sake he tries hard, and tries re- 
peatedly, to settle down to the life of an ordinary 
mission station. But it is impossible. The lure of 
the wilds fascinates him. He sees, away on the 
horizon, the smoke of a thousand native settlements 
in which no white man has ever been seen. It is 
more than he can bear. He goes to some of them 

134 A Bunch of Everlastings 

and beholds, on arrival, the smoke of yet other set- 
tlements still further away. And so he wanders 
further and further from his starting point; and 
builds home after home, only to desert each home as 
soon as it is built! The tales that the natives tell 
him of vast inland seas and of wild tumultuous 
waters tantalise him beyond endurance. The in- 
stincts of the hydrographer tingle within him. He 
sees the three great rivers — the Nile, the Congo and 
the Zambesi — emptying themselves into three sep- 
arate oceans, and he convinces himself that the man 
who can solve the riddle of their sources will have 
opened up a continent to the commerce and civili- 
sation of the world. The treasures of history pre- 
sent us with few things more affecting than the 
hold that this ambition secures upon his heart. It 
lures him on and on — along the tortuous slavetracks 
littered everywhere with bones — through the long 
grass that stands up like a wall on either side of him 
— across the swamps, the marshes and the bogs of 
the watersheds — through forests dark as night and 
through deserts that no man has ever crossed before 
— on and on for more than thirty thousand miles. 
He makes a score of discoveries, any one of which 
would have established his fame; but none of these 
satisfy him. The unknown still calls loudly and will 
not be denied. Even at the last, worn to a shadow, 
suffering in every limb, and too feeble to put his 
feet to the ground, the mysterious fountains of 
Herodotus torture his fancy. 'The fountains!' he 

David Livingstone's Text 135 

murmurs in his delirium, 'the hidden fountains!' 
And with death stamped upon his face, he orders 
his faithful blacks to bear him on a rude litter in 
his tireless search for the elusive streams. Yet never 
once does he feel really lonely. One has but to read 
his journal in order to see that that word of stainless 
honour never failed him. The song that soothed 
and comforted the weeping household in the Blan- 
tyre kitchen cheered with its music the hazards and 
adventures of his life in Africa. 

'Leave me not, forsake me not!' 

'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of 
the world!* 

'It is the word of a gentleman of the most strict 
and sacred honour, so there's an end of it!' 

Thus, amidst savages and solitudes, Livingstone 
finds that great word grandly true. 


'It is His word of honour!' says Livingstone ; and, 
nothing if not practical, he straightway proceeds to 
act upon it. Tf He be with me, I can do anything, 
anything, anything!' It is the echo of another 
apostolic boast : 'I can do all things through Christ 
that strengtheneth me!' In that unwavering confi- 
dence, and with an audacity that is the best evidence 
of his faith, Livingstone draws up for himself a 
programme so colossal that it would still have 
seemed large had it been the project of a million 
men. 'It is His word of honour!' he reasons ; 'and if 

136 A Bunch of Everlastings 

He will indeed be with me, even unto the end, He 
and I can accomplish what a million men, unattended 
by the Divine Companion, would tremble to attempt.' 
And so he draws up with a calm hand and a fearless 
heart that prodigious programme from which he 
never for a moment swerved, and which, when all 
was over, was inscribed upon his tomb in Westmin- 
ster Abbey. Relying on 'the word of a gentleman 
of the most strict and sacred honour,' he sets him- 

1. To evangelise the native races. 

2. To explore the undiscovered secrets. 

3. To abolish the desolating slave-trade. 

Some men set themselves to evangelise; some 
make it their business to explore ; others feel called 
to emancipate ; but Livingstone, with a golden secret 
locked up in his heart, undertakes all three ! 

Evangelisa tio n ! 


Those were his watchwords. No man ever set him- 
self a more tremendous task : no man ever con- 
fronted his lifework with a more serene and joyous 
confidence ! 


And how did it all work out? Was his faith 
justified? Was that word of honour strictly kept? 
'Leave me not, forsake me not!' he cries. 
'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end!* 

David Livingstone's Text 137 

In spite of that assurance, did he ever find him- 
self a solitary in a strange and savage land? Was 
he ever left or forsaken? It sometimes looked like 

It looked like it when he stood, bent with anguish 
beside that sad and lonely grave at Shupanga. Poor 
Mary Livingstone — the daughter of Robert and 
Mary Mofifat — was never strong enough to be the 
constant companion of a pioneer. For years she 
struggled on through dusty deserts and trackless 
jungles seeing no other woman but the wild women 
about her. But, with Httle children at her skirts, 
she could not struggle on for long. She gave it up, 
and stayed at home to care for the bairns and to pray 
for her husband as he pressed tirelessly on. But, 
even in Africa, people will talk. The gossips at the 
white settlements were incapable of comprehending 
any motive that could lead a man to leave his wife 
and plunge into the interior, save the desire to be 
as far from her as possible. Hearing of the scandal, 
and stung by it, Livingstone, in a weak moment, sent 
for his wife to again join him. She came; she sick- 
ened; and she died. We have all been touched by 
that sad scene in the vast African solitude. We 
seem to have seen him sitting beside the rude bed, 
formed of boxes covered with a soft mattress, on 
which lies his dying wife. The man who has faced 
so many deaths, and braved so many dangers, is now 
utterly broken down. He weeps like a child. 'Oh, 
my Mary, my Mary!' he cries, as the gentle spirit 

138 A Bunch of Everlastings 

sighs itself away, 'I loved you when I married you, 
and, the longer I lived with you, I loved you the 
more ! How often we have longed for a quiet home 
since you and I were cast adrift in Africa! God 
pity the poor children!' He buries her under the 
large baobab-tree, sixty feet in circumference, and 
reverently marks her grave. Tor the first time in 
my life,' he says, *I feel willing to die! I am left 
alone in the world by one whom I felt to be a part of 

'Leave me not, forsake me not!' he cried at the 

7 am left alone!' he cries in his anguish now. 

Has the word of honour been violated? Has it? 
It certainly looks like it 1 


It looked like it, too, eleven years later, when 
his own time came. He is away up among the bogs 
and the marshes near Chitambo's village in Ilala. 
Save only for his native helpers, he is all alone. He 
is all alone, and at the end of everything. He walked 
as long as he could walk ; rode as long as he could 
ride; and was carried on a litter as long as he could 
bear it. But now, with his feet too ulcerated to bear 
the touch of the ground ; with his frame so emaciated 
that it frightens him when he sees it in the glass; 
and with the horrible inward hemorrhage draining 
away his scanty remnant of vitality, he can go no 
further. 'Knocked up quite!' he says, in the last 

David Livingstone's Text 139 

indistinct entry in his journal. A drizzling rain is 
falling, and the black men hastily build a hut to 
shelter him. In his fever, he babbles about the foun- 
tains, the sources of the rivers, the undiscovered 
streams. Two of the black boys, almost as tired as 
their master, go to rest, appointing a third to watch 
the sick man's bed. But he, too, sleeps. And when 
he wakes, in the cold grey of the dawn, the vision 
that confronts him fills him with terror. The white 
man is not in bed, but on his knees beside it! He 
runs and awakens his two companions. They creep 
timidly to the kneeling figure. It is cold and stiff ! 
Their great master is dead! No white man near! 
No woman's hand to close his eyes in that last cruel 
sickness! No comrade to fortify his faith with the 
deathless words of everlasting comfort and ever- 
lasting hope ! He dies alone ! 

'Leave me not; forsake me not!' he cried at the 

'He died alone!' — that is how it all ended ! . 

Has the word of honour been violated? It most 
certainly looks like it I 


But it only looks like it! Life is full of illusions, 
and so is death. Anyone who cares to read the 
records in the journal of that terrible experience 
at Shupanga will be made to feel that never for a 
moment did the word of honour really fail. 

'Lo, I am with you akvay, even unto the end!' 

I40 A Bunch of Everlastings 

The consciousness of that unfailing Presence was 
his one source of comfort as he sat by his wife's 
bedside and dug her grave. The assurance of that 
divine Presence was the one heartening inspiration 
that enabled him to take up his heavy burden and 
struggle on again! 

'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end!' 

Yes, even unto the end ! Take just one more 
peep at the scene in the hut at Chitambo's village. 
He died on his knees! Then to whom was he 
talking when he died? He was talking even to the 
last moment of his life, to the constant Companion 
of his long, long pilgrimage! He was speaking, 
even in the act and article of death, to that 'Gentle- 
man of the most strict and sacred honour' whose 
word he had so implicitly trusted. 

'He will keep His word' — it is among the last 
entries in his journal — 'He will keep His word, the 
Gracious One, full of grace and truth; no doubt of 
it. He will keep His word, and it will be all right. 
Doubt is here inadmissible, surely!' 

'Leave me not; forsake me not!' he cried at the 

'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end!' 
came the assuring response. 

'It is the word of a gentleman of the most strict 
and sacred honour, so there's an end of it!' 

And that pathetic figure on his knees is the best 
testimony to the way in which that sacred pledge 
was kept. 


Snow! Snow! Snow! 

It was the first Sunday of the New Year, and this 
was how it opened 1 On roads and footpaths the 
snow was already many inches deep ; the fields were 
a sheet of blinding whiteness; and the flakes were 
still falling as though they never meant to stop. As 
the caretaker fought his way through the storm from 
his cottage to the chapel in Artillery Street, he won- 
dered whether, on such a wild and wintry day, any- 
one would venture out. It would be strange if, on 
the very first Sunday morning of the year, there 
should be no service. He unbolted the chapel doors 
and lit the furnace under the stove. Half an hour 
later, two men were seen bravely trudging their way 
through the snowdrifts; and, as they stood on the 
chapel steps, their faces flushed with their recent 
exertions, they laughingly shook the snow from off 
their hats and overcoats. What a morning, to be 
sure! By eleven o'clock about a dozen others had 
arrived ; but where was the minister ? They waited ; 
but he did not come. He lived at a distance, and, in 
all probability, had found the roads impassable. 
What was to be done? The stewards looked at 


142 A Bunch of Everlastings 

each other and surveyed the congregation. Except 
for a boy of fifteen sitting under the gallery, every 
face was known to them, and the range of selection 
was not great. There were whisperings and hasty 
consultations, and at last one of the two men who 
were first to arrive — 'a poor, thin-looking man, a 
shoemaker, a tailor, or something of that sort' — 
yielded to the murmured entreaties of the others and 
mounted the pulpit steps. He glanced nervously 
round upon nearly three hundred empty seats. 
Nearly, but not quite! For there were a dozen or 
fifteen of the regular worshippers present, and 
there was the boy sitting under the gallery. People 
who had braved such a morning deserved all the 
help that he could give them, and the strange boy 
under the gallery ought not to be sent back into the 
storm feeling that there was nothing in the service 
for him. And so the preacher determined to make 
the most of his opportunity; and he did. 

The hoy sitting under the gallery! A marble 
tablet now adorns the wall near the seat which he 
occupied that snowy day. The inscription records 
that, that very morning, the boy sitting under the 
gallery was converted ! He was only fifteen, and he 
died at fifty-seven. But, in the course of the inter- 
vening years, he preached the gospel to millions and 
led thousands and thousands into the kingdom and 
service of Jesus Christ. 'Let preachers study this 
story!' says Sir William Robertson Nicoll. 'Let 
them believe that, under the most adverse circum- 

C. H. Spurgeon's Text 143 

stances, they may do a work that will tell on the 
universe for ever. It was a great thing to have con- 
verted Charles Haddon Spurgeon; and who knows 
but he may have in the smallest and humblest con- 
gregation in the world some lad as well worth con- 
verting as was he ?' 


Snow ! Snow ! Snow ! 

The boy sitting under the gallery had purposed 
attending quite another place of worship that Sun- 
day morning. No thought of the little chapel in 
Artillery Street occurred to him as he strode out 
into the storm. Not that he was very particular. 
Ever since he was ten years of age he had felt 
restless and ill at ease whenever his mind turned to 
the things that are unseen and eternal. 'I had been 
about five years in the most fearful distress of mind,' 
he says. 'I thought the sun was blotted out of my 
sky, that I had so sinned against God that there was 
no hope for me!' He prayed, but never had a 
glimpse of an answer. He attended every place of 
worship in the town; but no man had a message 
for a youth who only wanted to know what he must 
do to be saved. With the first Sunday of the New 
Year he purposed yet another of these ecclesiastical 
experiments. But in making his plans he had not 
reckoned on the ferocity of the storm. *I some- 
times think,' he said, years afterwards, *I some- 
times think I might have been in darkness and 

144 A Bunch of Everlastings 

despair now, had it not been for the goodness of 
God in sending a snowstorm on Sunday morning, 
January 6th, 1850, when I was going to a place of 
worship. When I could go no further I turned 
down a court and came to a little Primitive 
Methodist chapel.' Thus the strange boy sitting 
under the gallery came to be seen by the impromptu 
speaker that snowy morning! Thus, as so often 
happens, a broken programme pointed the path of 
destiny ! Who says that two wrongs can never make 
a right? Let them look at this! The plans at the 
chapel went wrong; the minister was snowed up. 
The plans of the boy under the gallery went wrong: 
the snowstorm shut him off from the church of his 
choice. Those two wrongs together made one tre- 
mendous right; for out of those shattered plans 
and programmes came an event that has incalculably 
enriched mankind. 


Snow 1 Snow ! Snow ! 

And the very snow seemed to mock his misery. 
It taunted him as he walked to church that morning. 
Each virgin snowflake as it fluttered before his face 
and fell at his feet only emphasised the dreadful 
pollution within. 'My original and inward pollution !' 
he cries with Bunyan ; *I was more loathsome in mine 
own eyes than a toad. Sin and corruption would as 
naturally bubble out of my heart as water out of a 
fountain. I thought that every one had a better 

C. H. Spurgeon's Text 145 

heart than I had. At the sight of my own vileness 
I fell deeply into despair.' These words of Bun- 
yan's exactly reflect, he tells us, his own secret and 
spiritual history. And the white, white snow only 
intensified the agonising consciousness of defilement. 
In the expressive phraseology of the Church of 
England Communion Service, 'the remembrance of 
his sins was grievous unto him; the burden of them 
was intolerable.' 'I counted the estate of everything 
that God had made far better than this dreadful 
state of mind was: yea, gladly would I have been 
in the condition of a dog or a horse; for I knew 
they had no souls to perish under the weight of sin 
as mine was like to do.' 'Many and many a time,' 
says Mr. Thomas Spurgeon, 'my father told me 
that, in those early days, he was so stormtossed and 
distressed by reason of his sins that he found him- 
self envying the very beasts in the field and the toads 
by the wayside !' So stormtossed ! The storm that 
raged around him that January morning was in per- 
fect keeping with the storm within ; but oh, for the 
whiteness, the pure, unsullied whiteness, of the 
falling snow ! 


Snow ! Snow ! Snow ! 

From out of that taunting panorama of purity 
the boy passed into the cavernous gloom of the 
almost empty building. Its leaden heaviness matched 
the mood of his spirit, and he stole furtively to a seat 

146 A Bunch of Everlastings 

under the gallery. He noticed the long pause; the 
anxious glances which the stewards exchanged with 
each other; and, a little later, the whispered con- 
sultations. He watched curiously as the hastily- 
appointed preacher — *a shoemaker or something of 
that sort' — awkwardly ascended the pulpit. 'The 
man was,' Mr. Spurgeon tells us, 'really stupid as 
you would say. He was obliged to stick to his text 
for the simple reason that he had nothing else to 
say. His text was, "Look unto Me and be ye saved, 
all the ends of the earth." He did not even pro- 
nounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. 
There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in 
the text, and I listened as though my life depended 
upon what I heard. In about ten minutes the 
preacher had got to the end of his tether. Then 
he saw me sitting under the gallery; and I daresay, 
with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. 
He then said : "Young man, you look very miser- 
able." Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed 
to have remarks made from the pulpit on my per- 
sonal appearance. However, it was a good blow, 
well struck. He continued : "And you will always 
be miserable — miserable in life, and miserable in 
death — if you do not obey my text. But if you 
obey now, this moment, you will be saved !" Then 
he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist can shout, 
"Young man, look to Jesus! look, look, look!" I 
did; and, then and there, the cloud was gone, the 
darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw 

C. H. Spurgeon's Text 147 

the sun ! I could have risen on the instant and sung 
with the most enthusiastic of them of the precious 
blood of Christ and of the simple faith which looks 
alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me be- 
fore ! In their own earnest way, they sang a Halle- 
lujah before they went home, and I joined in it !' 

The snow around! 

The defilement within! 

*Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of 
the earth!' 

'Precious blood . . . and simple faith!' 

7 sang a Hallelujah!' 

Snow ! Snow ! Snow ! 

The snow was falling as fast as ever when the 
boy sitting under the gallery rose and left the 
building. The storm raged just as fiercely. And 
yet the snow was not the same snow! Everything 
was changed. Mr. Moody has told us that, on the 
day of his conversion, all the birds in the hedgerow 
seemed to be singing newer and blither songs. Dr. 
Campbell Morgan declares that the very leaves on 
the trees appeared to him more beautiful on the day 
that witnessed the greatest spiritual crisis in his 
career. Frank Bullen was led to Christ in a little 
New Zealand port which I have often visited, by a 
worker whom I knew well. And he used to say that, 
next morning, he climbed the summit of a mountain 

148 A Bunch of Everlastings 

near by and the whole landscape seemed changed. 
Everything had been transformed in the night ! 

Heaven above is softer blue, 
Earth around a deeper green, 

Something lives in every hue 
Christless eyes have never seen. 

Birds with gladder songs o'erflow, 
Flowers with richer beauties shine, 

Since I know, as now I know, 
I am His and He is mine! 

*I was now so taken with the love of God/ says 
Bunyan — and here again Mr. Spurgeon says that 
the words might have been his own — *I was now so 
taken with the love and mercy of God that I could 
not tell how to contain till I got home, I thought I 
could have spoken of His love, and told of His 
mercy, even to the very crows that sat upon the 
ploughed lands before me, had they been capable 
of understanding me.' As the boy from under the 
gallery walked home that morning he laughed at the 
storm, and the snow that had mocked him coming 
sang to him as he returned. 'The snow was lying 
deep,' he says, 'and more was falling. But those 
words of David kept ringing through my heart, 
"Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow!" It 
seemed to me as if all Nature was in accord with 
the blessed deliverance from sin which I had found 
in a moment by looking to Jesus Christ !' 

The mockery of the snow! 

The text amidst the snow! 

The mtisic of the snow! 

C. H. Spurgeon's Text 149 

Whiter than the snow! 

'Look unto Me and be ye saved!' 

'Wash me, and I shall he whiter than snow!' 


'Look unto Me and be ye saved!' 

Look! Look! Look! 

I look to my doctor to heal me when I am hurt; 
I look to my lawyer to advise me when I am per- 
plexed; I look to my tradesmen to bring my daily 
supplies to my door ; but there is only One to whom 
I can look when my soul cries out for deliverance. 

'Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of 
the earth!' 

'Look! Look! Look!' cried the preacher. 

*I looked/ says Mr. Spurgeon, *until I could al- 
most have looked my eyes away; and in heaven I 
will look still, in joy unutterable!' 

Happy the preacher, however unlettered, who, 
knowing little else, knows how to direct such wistful 
and hungry eyes to the only possible fountain of sat- 


Towards the close of his 'Life of Dean Stanley,' 
Mr. Prothero tells a capital story. A gentleman, 
travelling from Norwich to Liverpool, entered a 
third-class smoking compartment and was soon ab- 
sorbed in conversation with a couple of soldiers 
whom he found there. The gentleman's confession 
that he came from Norwich suggested to the sol- 
diers the name of Dean Stanley, who lived in that 
city. The gentleman asked what they knew about 
Dean Stanley. 

*0h,' replied one of them, 'me and my mate here 
have cause to bless the Lord that we ever saw good 
Dean Stanley, sir, I can tell you!' 

They went on to explain that they once had a day 
in London. They were anxious to see all the sights, 
but, by the time they reached Westminster Abbey, 
the doors were being closed for the night. Ex- 
tremely disappointed, they were turning sadly away 
when a gentleman approached and asked if they 
could not return on the morrow. The soldiers ex- 
plained that it was impossible. The gentleman, who 
proved to be the Dean, thereupon took the keys 
from the beadle, and himself showed them every 


Dean Stanley's Text 151 

part of the Abbey. As he prepared to take leave of 
them he commented upon the grandeur of being im- 
mortalised by a monument in Westminster Abbey. 
'But, after all,' he added, *you may both have a more 
enduring monument than this, for this will moulder 
into dust and be forgotten, but you, if your names 
are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, you will 
abide for ever !' He invited them to breakfast next 
morning, and insisted on paying their fares to their 
homes, and again, in bidding them good-bye, urged 
them to be sure to see that their names were written 
in the Lamb's Book of Life, 'and then,* he added, 
*if we never meet again on earth, we shall certainly 
meet in heaven !' 

'And so we parted with the Dean,' said the sol- 
dier, in concluding his story in the train, *and as 
we travelled home we talked about our visit to the 
Abbey, and puzzled much as to the meaning of the 
Lamb's Book of Life!' 

'It will be enough to say,' observes Mr. Prothero, 
in placing the story on record, 'it will be enough to 
say that those words proved the turning point in the 
lives of those two men and of their wives, and that, 
as one of them said, "We trust that our names are 
written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and that we 
may some day, in Grod's good time, meet Dean Stan- 
ley in heaven !" * 

The Lamb! 

The Lamb's Book! 

The Lamb's Book of Life! 

152 A Bunch of Everlastings 

'And there shall in no wise enter into the city 
anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh 
abomination or maketh a lie, but they which are 
written in the Lamb's Book of Life!' 


God is a great believer in putting things down. 
*I looked,' says John, 'and, behold, I saw the books; 
and the books were opened; and another book was 
opened, which is the Book of Life, and the dead were 
judged out of those things which were written in 
the books.' John saw books everywhere. It is the 
books, the books, the books! In the old slave days 
in America, the darkeys on the cotton plantations 
used to make their owners tremble by the zest with 
which, at their camp meetings, they shouted a cer- 
tain chorus : 

My Lord sees all you do, 
And my Lord hears all you say, 
And my Lord keep a-writing all the time! 

It was a Western appropriation of an Eastern reve- 
lation. The slaves gloried in the highly-coloured 
imagery of the Apocalypse. No book was so dear 
to them as the book with which the Bible closes. 
And when they read about the books, God's books, 
the books that hold the evidence, the books that must 
all be opened, they sang for very joy. The slaves 
shouted and the owners shuddered; the books, the 
books, the books ! God puts things down ! 

Dean Stanley's Test 153 


He writes everywhere and on everything. He 
is the most voluminous author in the universe. 
Every leaf in the forest, every sand on the seashore, 
is smothered with his handwriting. The trouble is 
that I am so slow to recognise the manuscripts of 
God. I walk past a tree, and to me it is only a tree — 
a leafy elm, a tasselled birch, a flowery chestnut, a 
rustling plane or a spreading oak. But a man whose 
eyes have been opened will find in the tree a volume 
of autobiography. Its history is written in its tissue. 
A practised eye can tell at a glance how long it has 
stood here; and can read, as from the pages of a 
book, the story of the tree's experiences. The winds 
by which it has been buffeted ; the accidents that have 
befallen it; the diseases from which it has suffered; 
the way in which it has been nurtured or starved by 
congenial or uncongenial soil ; it is all written down. 
A botanist could open the book and interpret the en- 
tire romance. 

I stand and watch men dig a well. The windlass 
revolves; the great buckets go down empty and 
come up full; the earth is thrown on to the heap; 
and the process is repeated. I see this, and I see 
no more. But a geologist would tell me that these 
men are digging amongst ancient libraries. Every 
clod is a record ; every stone a sign. Standing here 
at the mouth of the well, with his glass in one hand 
and his hammer in the other, he would pounce upon 

154 A Bunch of Everlastings 

this and would probe into that, and would tell a 
most wonderful tale. To him these are the archives 
of antiquity. They tell him of floods and tornadoes 
and earthquakes of which no other records survive. 
He taps at a stone, and crumbles a lump of loam, 
and straightway tells you of the flora and fauna of 
the district in some prehistoric time. It is all writ- 
ten down; nothing happens without leaving its 
record. God is a great believer in bookkeeping. 

No man can walk down the street by night or by 
day without placing on record the story of his move- 
ments. My senses may be too dull to trace him; 
but call out the black trackers or the bloodhounds, 
and they will soon convince you that every footstep 
was like a signature. Read a great detective story, 
and it will soon occur to you that your Sherlock 
Holmes proceeds on the assumption that every secret 
thing is recorded somewhere and somehow : the only 
trouble is to lay your hand on the exact volume and 
correctly decipher its mysterious hieroglyphics. It 
is to that task that the detective dedicates his skill. 
The whole science of finger-print evidence shows that 
I cannot touch a stick or straw in the solar system 
without leaving a record of my act, signed and 
sealed, upon the spot. 


History is written automatically. It is wonderful 
what you find when you are moving. The Autocrat 
of the Breakfast Table, engaged one day on some 

Dean Stanley's Text 155 

such domestic upheaval, stumbled upon this very 
truth. He found it behind a set of bookshelves. 
'There is nothing that happens,' he says, in telling 
the story, 'which must not inevitably, and which 
does not actually, photograph itself in every con- 
ceivable aspect and in all dimensions. The infinite 
galleries of the Past await but one brief process, 
and all their pictures will be called out and fixed for 
ever. We had a curious illustration of this great 
fact on a very humble scale. When a certain book- 
case, long standing in one place, for which it was 
built, was removed, there was the exact image on 
the wall of the whole, and of many of its portions. 
But in the midst of this picture was another — the 
precise outline of a map which had hung on the wall 
before the bookcase was built. We had all forgot- 
ten everything about the map until we saw its pho- 
tograph on the wall. Then we remembered it, as 
some day or other we may remember a sin which 
has been built over and covered up, when this lower 
universe is pulled away from before the wall of 
Infinity where the wrongdoing stands self-recorded.' 
One of the old Hebrew prophets declared that the 
sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron. Every- 
thing is! my doings are dotted down. Even if 
they are written nowhere else, they are entered 
upon the tablets of my memory. Often the charac- 
ter reflects itself in the countenance. Life's story is 
variously and indelibly inscribed. There are books, 
books, books; books everywhere; the universe itself 

156 A Bunch of Everlastings 

is but a massive volume beautifully bound. It takes 
a lot of reading, but God can make out every word. 


The books! The hooks! 

The dead were judged out of the books! 

What does it mean ? 

It means that the judgements of God are terribly 
deliberate. I shall never forget an impression made 
upon my mind in my early boyhood. Father woke 
me early in the morning. He was going to London : 
would I care to go with him? Those were always 
my red-letter days. The trip and the business in 
hand occupied most of the morning, and then we 
were free. Where should we go ? Now it happened 
that I was very fond of reading the reports of fa- 
mous trials. I thought that actually to witness one 
would be a most exciting experience. Accordingly, 
I asked to be taken to the law courts. Shall I ever 
forget the bitter disillusionment? I saw the judge 
seated upon his bench; I saw the barristers, the 
witnesses and all the principal parties to the suit. 
But the proceedings themselves ! I heard a barrister 
ask a question, the sense of which I could with diffi- 
culty distinguish. I heard a mumbled reply, but 
failed to catch the words uttered. I saw the judge 
bend over his desk and carefully write something 
down. Another question : another inaudible reply : 
another pause whilst the judge entered something 
in his book. I came away disgusted. My boyish 

Dean Stanley's Text 157 

dream was shattered. Yet somehow the years have 
dispelled the disappointment. I like now to think 
of justice as calm, passionless, deliberate. The 
judge is unswayed by caprice, vindictiveness or 
wrath. He is terribly deliberate. He writes every- 
thing down. He judges according to the things that 
appear in the books. 

It means, too, that the judgements of God are 
scrupulously accurate. 'I looked, and, behold, I 
saw the books!' I ask my tradesman how much I 
owe him. He scratches his head, hums and ha's 
for a minute, and then tells me that it comes to ten 
and sixpence. I pay him grudgingly, feeling that 
the position is very unsatisfactory. Again, I ask 
my tradesman how much I owe him. He reaches 
down a ledger, opens it, and tells me that I owe him 
ten and sixpence. I pay him cheerfully. His ac- 
curacy gives me confidence. The books make all 
the difference. 

It means, too, that the judgements of God are 
wonderfully comprehensive and complete. Dean 
Stanley, who loved the old Abbey so well, never 
wandered through transept, aisle or nave without 
feeling, as he gazed upon its stately marbles, that 
the judgement of humanity is far from satisfactory. 
Many names are immortalised in the Abbey that 
might well be permitted to perish : many who served 
their country nobly find no memorial there. The 
scroll of fame is incomplete. He loved, therefore, 
to ponder on another scroll that should be disfigured 

158 A Bunch of Everlastings 

by no such blemishes. 'See to it/ he used to say, 
'that your name is written, not in marble that must 
crumble, but in the Lamb's Book of Life!' 


I am glad that that 'other book' that John saw 
opened was the Book of Life. Westminster Abbey 
enshrines the names of the illustrious dead: that 
other book — the last and the best that John saw 
opened — contains only the names of those who 
are alive — and alive for evermore. *I am come that 
ye might have life,' said Jesus, in one of His historic 
manifestoes, *I am come that ye might have life, 
and that ye might have it more abundantly.' 'For 
God so loved the world that He gave His only be- 
gotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should 
not perish but have everlasting life.' The Saviour 
is the Fountain of Life; the Gospel is a Message of 
Life; the Volume that John saw opened in heaven 
was the Book of Life. There is infinite comfort in 

I am glad, too, that it is the Lamb's book. My 
heart would fail me if that awful volume had been 
inscribed by any hand but His. Lachlan Campbell 
was a good man ; he was the strictest and the stern- 
est of the elders of Drumtochty ; and he loved Flora, 
his erring daughter, dearly. But he was over-hasty 
in striking her name out of the family Bible. We 
all remember the rebuke that Marget Howe admin- 

Dean Stanley's Text 159 

istered to him, when she saw the book, its ink all 
blurred by tears. 

'This is what ye hev dune,' she cried, 'and ye let 
a woman see yir wark. Ye are an auld man, and in 
sore travail, but a' tell ye before God, ye hae the 
greater shame. Juist twenty years o' age this spring, 
and her mither dead. Nae woman to watch over 
her, and she wandered frae the fold, and a' ye can 
dae is to take her oot o' yir Bible! Wae's me if 
oor Father had blotted oor names frae the Book 0' 
Life when we left His hoose. But He sent His 
ain Son to seek us, an' a weary road He cam. Puir 
Flora, tae hae sic a father !' 

Thanks to Marget's gracious intervention. Flora 
came home again; she was welcomed with endless 
tears and caresses; the Gaelic — 'the best of all lan- 
guages for loving' — contains fifty words for darling, 
and Lachlan used them all that night! The name 
had to be re-entered in the Bible, and Lachlan had 
to ask Flora's forgiveness for erasing it. I am glad 
that the book on which my eternal destiny depends 
is the Lamb's Book — the Lamb's Book of Life! 


Thackeray tells us that when good old Colonel 
Newcome — the greatest gentleman in literature — lay 
dying, the watchers noticed that his mind was 
moving backwards across the pageant of the years. 
He is in India addressing his regiment on parade! 
He is in Paris, living through the days of auld lang 

i6o A Bunch of Everlastings 

syne! And then! *At the usual evening hour the 
chapel bell began to toll, and Thomas Newcome's 
hands outside the bed feebly beat time. And, just 
as the last bell struck, a peculiar sweet smile shone 
over his face, and he lifted up his head a little, and 
quickly said "Adsum!" and fell back. It was the 
word we used at school, when names were called; 
and lo, he whose heart was as that of a little child, 
had answered to his name, and stood in the presence 
of The Master!' 

The Book! 

The Lamb's Book! 

The Lamb's Book of Life! 

When that last volume is opened, and that last 
roll called, may I, like Colonel Newcome, be ready 
to answer gladly to my name ! 


The westering sun, slanting through the tops of the 
taller trees, is beginning to throw long shadows 
across the green and gently-undulating fields. The 
brindled cattle, lying at their ease and meditatively 
chewing the cud in these quiet Northamptonshire 
pastures, are disturbed by the sound of footsteps 
in the lane. Some of them rise in protest and stare 
fixedly at the quaint figure that has broken so rudely 
on their afternoon reverie. But he causes them no 
alarm, for they have often seen him pass this way 
before. He is the village cobbler. This very morn- 
ing he tramped along his winding thoroughfare on 
his way to Northampton. He was carrying his 
wallet of shoes — a fortnight's work — to the Gov- 
ernment contractor there. And now he is trudging 
his way back to Moulton with the roll of leather 
that will keep him busy for another week or two. 
The cattle stare at him, as well they may. The 
whole world would stare at him if it had the chance 
to-day. For this is William Carey, the harbinger 
of a new order, the prophet of a new age, the maker 
of a new world! The cattle stare at him, but he 


1 62 A Bunch of Everlastings 

has no eyes for them. His thoughts are over the 
seas and far away. He is a dreamer; but he is 
a dreamer who means business. Less than twenty 
years ago, in a tall chestnut tree not far from this 
very lane, he spied a bird's nest that he greatly 
coveted. He climbed — and fell ! He climbed again 
— and fell again ! He climbed a third time, and, in 
the third fall, broke his leg. A few weeks later, 
whilst the limb was still bandaged, his mother left 
him for an hour or two, instructing him to take the 
greatest care of himself in her absence. When she 
returned, he was sitting in his chair, flushed and 
excited, with the bird's nest on his knees. 

'Hurrah, mother; I've done it at last! Here it 
is, look!' 

'You don't mean to tell me you've climbed that 
tree again !' 

'I couldn't help it, mother; I couldn't, really! 
// / begin a thing I must go through with it!' 

On monuments erected in honour of William 
Carey, on busts and plaques and pedestals, on the 
titlepages of his innumerable biographies, and under 
pictures that have been painted of him, I have often 
seen inscribed some stirring sentence that fell from 
his eloquent lips. But I have never seen that one. 
Yet the most characteristic word that Carey ever 
uttered was the reply that he made to his mother 
that day! 

'If I begin a thing I must go through with it!' 

If you look closely, you will see that sentence 

William Carey's Text 163 

stamped upon his countenance as, with a far-away 
look in his eye, he passes down the lane. Let us 
follow him, and we shall find that he is beginning 
some tremendous things; and, depend upon it, he 
will at any cost go through with them ! 


It is not an elaborately- furnished abode, this little 
home of his. For, although he is minister, school-- 
master and cobbler, the three vocations only provide 
him with about thirty-six pounds a year. Looking 
around, I can see but a few stools, his cobbler's out- 
fit, a book or two (including a Bible, a copy of Cap- 
tain Cook's Voyages and a Dutch Grammar) besides 
a queer-looking map on the wall. We must have a 
good look at this map, for there is history in it as 
well as geography. It is a map of the world, made 
of leather and brown paper, and it is the work of his 
own fingers. Look, I say, at this map, for it is a 
reflection of the soul of Carey. As he came up the 
lane, looking neither to the right hand nor to the left, 
he was thinking of the world. He is a jack-of-all- 
trades, yet he is a man of a single thought. 'Per- 
haps,' he says to himself, 'perhaps God means what 
He says!' The world! The world! The World! 
God so loved the world! Go ye into all the world! 
The kingdoms of the world shall become the king- 
doms of our God and of His Christ! It is always 
tke world, the world, the world. That thought 
haunted the mind of Carey night and day. The 

1 64 A Bunch of Everlastings 

map of the world hung in his room, but it only 
hung in his room because it already hung in his 
heart. He thought of it, he dreamed of it, he 
preached of it. And he was amazed that, when 
he unburdened his soul to his brother-ministers, 
or preached on that burning theme to his little 
congregation, they listened with respectful interest 
and close attention, yet did nothing. At length, on 
May 31, 1792, Carey preached his great sermon, 
the sermon that gave rise to our modern mission- 
ary movement, the sermon that made history. It 
was at Nottingham. 'Lengthen thy cords' — so ran 
the text — 'lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy 
stakes, for thou shalt break forth on the right hand 
and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gen- 
tiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.' 

'Lengthen thy cords!' said the text. 

'Strengthen thy stakes!' said the text. 

'Expect great things from God!' said the preacher. 

'Attempt great things for God!' said the preacher. 

'If all the people had lifted up their voices and 
wept,' says Dr. Ryland, *as the children of Israel 
did at Bochim, I should not have wondered at the 
effect; it would only have seemed proportionate to 
the cause; so clearly did Mr. Carey prove the 
criminality of our supineness in the cause of Godl' 
But the people did not weep! They did not even 
wait! They rose to leave as usual. When Carey, 
stepping down from the pulpit, saw the people 
quietly dispersing, he seized Andrew Fuller's hand 

William Carey's Text 165 

and wrung it in an agony of distress. *Are we 
not going to do anything!' he demanded. *Oh, 
Fuller, call them back, call them back! We dare 
not separate unthout doing anything!' As a result 
of that passionate entreaty, a missionary society was 
formed, and William Carey offered himself as the 
Society's first missionary. 

7/ / begin a thing I must go through with it!' he 
said, as a schoolboy. 

'We dare not separate without doing something!' 
he cried, as a young minister. 

'Lengthen the cords! Strengthen the stakes!' 

'Expect great things! Attempt great things!' 


I can never think of William Carey without 
thinking of Jane Conquest. In the little hamlet 
by the sea, poor Jane watched through the night 
beside the cot of her dying child. Then, suddenly, 
a light leapt in at the lattice, crimsoning every 
object in the room. It was a ship on fire, and no 
eyes but hers had seen it! Leaving her dying boy 
to the great Father's care, she trudged through the 
snow to the old church on the hill. 

She crept through the narrow window and climbed the belfry 

And grasped the rope, sole cord of hope for the mariners in 

And the wild wind helped her bravely, and she wrought with 

an earnest will, 
And the clamorous bell spake out right well to the hamlet 

under the hill. 

1 66 A Bunch of Everlastings 

And it roused the slumbering fishers, nor its warning task 

gave o'er 
Till a hundred fleet and eager feet were hurrying to the 

shore ; 
And the lifeboat midst the breakers, with a brave and gallant 

O'ercame each check and reached the wreck and saved the 

hapless crew. 

Upon the sensitive soul of William Carey there 
broke the startling vision of a world in peril, and 
he could find no sleep for his eyes nor slumber 
for his eyelids until the whole church was up and 
doing for the salvation of the perishing millions. 
It has been finely said that when, towards the 
close of the eighteenth century, it pleased God to 
awaken from her slumbers a drowsy and lethargic 
church, there rang out, from the belfry of the 
ages, a clamorous and insistent alarm; and, in that 
arousing hour, the hand upon the bellrope was the 
hand of William Carey. 

'We dare not separate without doing something!' 
'Lengthen the cords! Strengthen the stakes!' 
'Expect great things! Attempt great things!' 
'Here am I ; send me, send me!' 


Now the life of William Carey is both the out- 
come and the exemplification of a stupendous prin- 
ciple. That principle was never better stated than 
by the prophet from whose flaming lips Carey 
borrowed his text. 'Thine eyes,' said Isaiah, 'Thine 
eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall 

William Carey's Text 167 

behold the land that stretches very far off.' The 
vision kingly stands related to the vision continental; 
the revelation of the Lord leads to the revelation of 
the limitless landscape. What was it that happened 
one memorable day upon the road to Damascus ? It 
was simply this: Saul of Tarsus saw the King in 
His beauty! And what happened as a natural and 
inevitable consequence? There came into his life 
the passion of the far horizon. All the narrowing 
limits of Jewish prejudice and the cramping bonds 
of Pharisaic superstition fell from him like the scales 
that seemed to drop from his eyes. The world is 
at his feet. Single-handed and alone, taking his 
life in his hand, he storms the great centres of 
civilisation, the capitals of proud empires, in the 
name of Jesus Christ. No difficulty can daunt him ; 
no danger impede his splendid progress. He passes 
from sea to sea, from island to island, from con- 
tinent to continent. The hunger of the earth is in 
his soul; there is no coast or colony to which he will 
not go. He feels himself a debtor to Greek and to 
barbarian, to bond and to free. He climbs moun- 
tains, fords rivers, crosses continents, bears stripes, 
endures imprisonments, suffers shipwreck, courts 
insult, and dares a thousand deaths out of the passion 
of his heart to carry the message of hope to every 
crevice and corner of the earth. A more thrilling 
story of hazard, hardship, heroism and adventure 
has never been written. On the road to Damascus 
Paul saw the King in His beauty, and he spent the 

i68 A Bunch of Everlastings 

remainder of his life in exploiting the limitless land- 
scape that unrolled itself before him. The vision of 
the King opened to his eyes the vision of the con- 
tinents. In every age these two visions have always 
gone side by side. In the fourteenth century, the 
vision of the King broke upon the soul of John 
Wickliflfe. Instantly, there arose the Lollards, 
scouring city, town and hamlet with the new evangel, 
the representatives of the instinct of the far horizon. 
The fifteenth century contains two tremendous 
names. As soon as the world received the vision 
kingly by means of Savonarola, it received the 
vision continental by means of Christopher Colum- 
bus. In the sixteenth century, the same principle 
holds. It is, on the one hand, the century of Martin 
Luther, and, on the other, the century of Raleigh, 
Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher, Grenville and the great 
Elizabethan navigators. All the oceans of the world 
became a snowstorm of white sails. The seven- 
teenth century gave us, first the Puritans, and then 
the sailing of the Mayflower. So we came to the 
eighteenth century. And the eighteenth century is 
essentially the century of John Wesley and of 
William Carey. At Aldersgate Street the vision of 
the King in His beauty dawned graciously upon the 
soul of John Wesley. During the fifty years that 
followed, that vision fell, through Wesley's instru- 
mentality, upon the entire English people. The 
Methodist revival of the eighteenth century is one 
of the most gladsome records in the history of 

William Carey's Text 169 

Europe. And then, John Wesley having impressed 
upon all men the vision of the King^ William Carey 
arose to impress upon them the vision of the Con- 

'We must do something !' he cried. 
'Lengthen the cords! Strengthen the stakes!' 
'Expect great things! Attempt great things!' 
'The King! The King! The Continents! The 


Having gazed upon these things, our eyes are the 
better fitted to appreciate the significance of the 
contents of the cobbler's room. There he sits at his 
last, the Bible from which he drew his text spread 
out before him, and a home-made map of the world 
upon the wall ! There is no element of chance about 
that artless record. There is a subtle and inevitable 
connection between the two. In the Bihle he saw 
the King in His beauty: on the map he caught 
glimpses of the far horizon. To him, the two were 
inseparable; and, moved by the Vision of the 
Lord which he caught in the one, and by the Vision 
of the limitless landscape which he caught in the 
other, he left his last and made history. 


'Lengthen the cords! Strengthen the stakes!' 
'Expect great things! Attempt great things!' 
'Do something! Do something!' 

I70 A Bunch of Everlastings 

It was at Nottingham that Carey preached that 
arousing sermon : it was in India that he practised 
it. With the eye of a statesman and of a strategist 
he saw that the best way of regaining the ground 
that was being lost in Europe was to achieve new 
conquests in Asia. History abounds in striking 
coincidences; but, among them all, there is none 
more suggestive than the fact that it was on Novem- 
ber II, 1793 — the very day on which the French 
revolutionists tore the Cross from Notre Dame, 
smashed it on the streets, and abjured Christianity 
— that William Carey sailed up the Hooghly,- landed 
at Calcutta, and claimed a new continent for Christ ! 
And, like a statesman and a strategist, he settled 
down to do in India the work to which he had chal- 
lenged the church at home. 

^Lengthen the cords!' 

'Strengthen the stakes!' 

He started an indigo factory; made himself the 
master of a dozen languages; became Professor of 
Bengali, Sanskrit and Mahratta at a salary of fifteen 
hundred a year ; all in order to engage more and still 
more missionaries and to multiply the activities by 
which the Kingdom of Christ might be set up in 
India. His work of translation was a marvel in 

'// / begin a thing I must go through with it!' 
he said that day with the birds'-nest resting on 
his lap. 

'Do something! Do something!' he said in his 

William Carey's Text 171 

agony as he saw the people dispersing after his 

And in India he did things. He toiled terribly. 
But he sent the gospel broadcast through the lengths 
and breadths of that vast land; built up the finest 
college in the Indian Empire; and gave the peoples 
the Word of God in their own tongue. 


Just before Carey died, Alexander Dufif arrived 
in India. He was a young Highlander of four-and- 
twenty, tall and handsome, with flashing eye and 
quivering voice. Before setting out on his own 
life-work he went to see the man who had changed 
the face of the world. He reached the college on 
a sweltering day in July. 'There he beheld a little 
yellow old man in a white jacket, who tottered up 
to the visitor, received his greetings, and with out- 
stretched hands, solemnly blessed him.' Each fell 
in love with the other. Carey, standing on the brink 
of the grave, rejoiced to see the handsome and cul- 
tured young Scotsman dedicating his life to the 
evangelisation and emancipation of India. Duff felt 
that the old man's benediction would cling to his 
work like a fragrance through all the great and 
epoch-making days ahead. 

Not long after Carey lay a-dying, and, to his 
great delight. Duff came to see him. The young 
Highlander told the veteran of his admiration and 
his love. In a whisper that was scarcely audible, 

172 A Bunch of Everlastings 

the dying man begged his visitoi to pray with him. 
After he had compHed, and taken a sad farewell 
of the frail old man, he turned to go. On reaching 
the door \ie fancied that he heard his name. He 
turned and saw that Mr. Carey was beckoning him. 

*Mr. Dufif/ said the dying man, his earnestness 
imparting a new vigour to his voice, *Mr. Duff, you 
have been speaking about Dr. Carey, Dr. Carey, Dr. 
Carey! When I am gone, say nothing about Dr. 
Carey — speak only of Dr. Carey's Saviour.' 

Did I say that, when our little cobbler startled the 
cattle in the Northamptonshire lane, he was thinking 
only of the world, the world, the world? I was 
wrong! He was thinking primarily of the Saviour, 
the Saviour, the Saviour — the Saviour of the World! 

And yet I was right ; for the two visions are one 
vision, the two thoughts one thought. 

The King, the King, the King! 

The Continents, the Continents, the Continents! 

The Saviour, the Saviour, the Saviour! 

The World, the World, the World! 

As a lad, Carey caught the vision of the King in 
His beauty; and, as an inevitable consequence, he 
spent his life in the conquest of the land that is 
very far off. 


He is a proud young English gentleman — wealthy, 
cultured, athletic; and the words smite him like a 
blow in the face. 

'Not fit for the Kingdom of God!* 

'Not fit for the Kingdom of God!' 

Those who know him best would say that he is 
fit for anything; yet these are the stinging words 
that confront him in the crisis of his young career. 

'Not fit for the Kingdom of God!' 

'Not fit for the Kingdom of God!' 

He is the kind of fellow upon whom you would 
bestow a second glance if it were your good fortune 
to meet him on the street. He is tall, lithe, hand- 
some, and splendidly proportioned. He strikes you 
as having every nerve and sinew under perfect con- 
trol. His face is vigorous and arresting. Without 
seeming in the least degree self-assertive or pugna- 
cious, it suggests boundless energy and dauntless 
resolution. His eyes are grey and full of mischief. 
His voice is resonant, impressive, commanding. His 
laugh is boisterous, contagious, unforgettable. Al- 
though still young, he has travelled widely; has 
visited the famous cities of the continent; and, in 


174 A Bunch of Everlastings 

his own yacht, has navigated the waterways of 
Europe. He is just filnishing his university career at 
Oxford. Come with me to his room at St. Mary's 
Hall ; and, as you glance around its walls, the medley 
of objects that will meet the eye will furnish us with 
some index to his character. In the centre of every- 
thing is a portrait of his mother, a stately and 
beautiful lady, from whom he has inherited many 
of his noblest traits. Arranged around it are the 
bones of many curious monsters, and the crude but 
cunning weapons of barbarous peoples. In the 
corner stands a miscellaneous collection of riding- 
whips; whilst here, under the window, stands a 
tank, in which numbers of live fish disport them- 
selves. For our gay young undergraduate is a 
naturalist; the woods and the waters have taken 
him into their confidence and have freely yielded 
up their secrets. 

Here he is, then, standing on the threshold of 
destiny! He appears to be one of fortune's darlings. 
All that exceptional gifts, careful training, extensive 
travel, and the highest education can do for a man 
has been done for him. And yet, as he prepares to 
turn all these priceless advantages to some account, 
and to set his face seriously towards his Hfework, 
these are the words that smite him in the face and 
stab him to the quick ! 

'Not fit for the Kingdom of God!' 

'Not fit for the Kingdom of God!' 

Like the rich young ruler whom he so strikingly 

James Hannington's Text 175 

resembles, he turns away sorrowful. The gaiety 
of his spirit is clouded in gloom. 'Not fit for the 
Kingdom of God!' What is it that, with all his 
charms and his accomplishments, he still lacks? 


It is on the eve of his ordination that these cruel 
words rebuke him. For, in striving to equip himself 
for the useful life that he so earnestly desires, he 
he has by no means forgotten the loftiest claims of 
all. The fear of God is constantly before his eyes. 
With all his fun and frolic, his passion for sport and 
his thirst for adventure, James Hannington is in 
reality a fervently religious youth. At the back of 
his mind he is revolving some tremendous problems. 
Let me copy a couple of entries from his private 
journal. The one was written in his eighteenth 
year; the other in his twentieth. 

'March 20, 1868: I have been much tempted of 
late to turn Roman Catholic, and nearly did so, but 
my faith has been much shaken by reading Cardinal 
Manning's Funeral Sermon for Cardinal Wiseman, 
over whose death I mourned much. He said that 
Cardinal Wiseman's last words were: "Let me 
have all that the Church can do for me !" I seemed 
to see at once that if the highest ecclesiastic stood 
thus in need of external rites on his death-bed, the 
system must be rotten, and I gave up all idea of 
departing from our Protestant faith.' 

From this significant entry, with its revelation of 

176 A Bunch of Everlastings 

great thoughts stirring in his soul, I turn to one of 
a very different kind, yet of no less value. 

'February g, 1867: I lost my ring out shooting, 
with scarcely a hope of ever seeing it again. I 
offered to give the gamekeeper ten shillings if he 
found it, and was led to ask God that the ring might 
be found and be to me a sure sign of salvation. 
From that moment the ring seemed on my finger, 
and I was not surprised when Sayers brought it to 
me on Monday evening. He had picked it up in the 
long grass in cover, a most unlikely place ever to 
find it. A miracle! Jesus, by Thee alone can we 
obtain remission of our sins !' 

The diary contains a footnote to this entry, writ- 
ten by Hannington some years afterwards. 'This,' 
he says, 'was written by me* at the most worldly 
period of my existence.* Yet there it is! These 
entries prove that, however far from the Kingdom 
Hannington may then have been, he kept his face 
turned wistfully and steadfastly towards its gates. 
The deep religious impulses throbbing in his soul 
moved him to associate himself with the church ; to 
receive upon his lips the awful mysteries of the 
Christian sacrament; and, later on, to apply for or- 
dination. But, as he drew nearer to that solemn 
and searching ceremony, his conscience cried out 
and his heart failed him, 

'How I dread my ordination !' he writes. 'I would 
willingly draw back; but, when I am tempted to do 
so, I hear ringing in my ears : "No man, having put 

James Hannington's Text 177 

his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the 
Kingdom of God." What am I to do? What?' 

What, indeed? He felt that he was 'not fit for 
the Kingdom of God' and dare not go on! And 
yet, if he turned back, he was only giving fuller 
evidence of his unfitness ! Here was a dilemma ! 
He resolved at length to go on, and, in going on, 
to seek with full purpose of heart that fitness that 
he felt he lacked. 'It is characteristic of the man,' 
says his biographer, 'that he should have faced what 
he now dreaded with an almost morbid fear. His 
conscience would have absolved him on no other 
terms. "No man, having put his hand to the plough, 
and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God." 
Those words held him fast to his purpose !' So he 
made his decision. But the decision did not relieve 
his deep spiritual embarrassment, for, whilst he felt 
that he dared not look back, he felt that he was 
unfit to go on. 

'Not fit for the Kingdom of God!' 

'Not fit for the Kingdom of God!' 
The words beat themselves into his brain. It was 
a terrible situation and he saw no way of escape. 


The way of escape came by post. It sometimes 
does. There are a few choice spirits in God's world 
who have mastered the high art of conducting a 
religioub correspondence. They can write without 
gush and without gloom: their letters are neither 

178 A Bunch of Everlastings 

sentimental nor sanctimonious. His old comrade 
and chum, the Rev. E. C. Dawson, M.A., who 
afterwards became his biographer, was, about this 
time, greatly concerned on Hannington's behalf. 
*I could not tell why,' he says, 'but the burden 
seemed to press upon me more heavily day by day.' 
At last he resolved to write. He knew Hannington's 
scorn of cant, and feared that such a letter would 
offend him. 'Still,' he says, 'I reasoned that, if 
friendship was to be lost, it should be at least well 
lost. So I wrote a simple, unvarnished account of 
my own spiritual experience. I tried to explain how 
it was that I was not now as formerly. I spoke of 
the power of the love of Christ to transform the 
life of a man and to draw out all its latent possibili- 
ties; and, finally, I urged him, as he loved his own 
soul, to make a definite surrender of himself to the 
Saviour of the world.' And the result? For the 
result we must turn to the diary : 

'July 15 : Dawson, who is now a curate in Surrey, 
opened a correspondence with me to-day which I 
can only describe as delightful. It led to my con- 

'I was in bed at the time, reading,' he says, in a 
note written years afterwards. 'I sprang out of 
bed and leaped about the room rejoicing and praising 
God that Jesus died for me. From that day to this, 
I have lived under the shadow of His wings in the 
assurance that I am His and He is mine!' 

And, writing to Mr. Dawson, the author of the 

James Hannington's Text 179 

letter, he says : *I have never seen so much hght as 
during the past few days. I know now that Jesus died 
for me, and that He is mine and I am His. I ought 
daily to be more thankful to you as the instrument 
by whom I was brought to Christ. Unspeakable 

'It led to my conversion!' 

*I know now that Jesus died for me!' 

* Unspeakable joy! Unspeakable joy!' 


Five years, filled with happy and fruitful minis- 
tries, pass away. He is now a proud husband and 
the father of a little family. All at once, England 
is stirred to its depths by the news that Lieut. 
Shergold Smith and Mr. O'Neill have been mur- 
dered on the shore of Victoria Nyanza. It afifects 
Hannington like a challenge. He longs to go and 
fill one of the vacant places. Unable to resist the 
call, he offers — and is accepted! As the time for 
his departure approaches, he realises the bitterness 
of the ordeal that he must face. His people! The 
congregation is in tears whenever he enters the 
pulpit. His wife, who had so bravely consented to 
his application, but who finds it so hard to let him 
go! His little ones! This,* he says, as he records 
the anguish of farewell, 'this was my most bitter 
trial — an agony that still cleaves to me — saying 
good-bye to the little ones. Thank God that all the 

i8o A Bunch of Everlastings 

pain was on one side. Over and over again I thank 
Him for that ! "Come back soon, papa !" they cried. 
Then the servants, all attached to me. My wife, the 
bravest of them all !* Over the chapter that tells of 
such experiences his biographer has inscribed a 
quotation from Epictetus: 

'If some wifeling or childling be granted you, well 
and good; but, if the Captain call, run to the ship, 
and leave such possessions behind you, not looking 

But, if the work had been an autobiography, and 
if Hannington himself had chosen the inscription 
for the heading of that chapter, he would have 
selected the words that surged through his brain 
every day and many times a day: 

'No man, having put his hand to the plough, and 
looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God!' 

'No man looking back!' cries the philosopher. 

'No man looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of 
God,' says Hannington's text. 

With such words in his heart he fought his way 
through his valley of weeping and set out for 
Darkest Africa. 


But he was driven back, as even the bravest 
sometimes are. In Africa he was beset by fever 
after fever. For weeks on end he could not rise 
from his mattress. His emaciation was terrible to 
behold. 'Can it be long before I die?' he said one 

James Hanninffton's Text iSi 

day to Cyril Gordon. 'No,' replied his companion, 
'nor can you desire that it should be so !' *I have a 
distinct remembrance,' says Mr.Copplestone, another 
member of the party, 'of one of the few walks which 
he was able to take with myself. "Copplestone," he 
said, "I do not think that I can recover from this 
illness. Let us go that we may choose a place for 
my grave." So we went, and he selected a spot 
where he said we were to bury him. He did not 
expect that he could live long in such a state as that 
in which he then was.' A day or two later, Mr. 
Stokes, who had left the party to find a road to the 
Lake Victoria Nyanza, unexpectedly returned. But 
let the diary tell its own story : 

'October 6 : Slightly better, but still in very great 
pain. To our immense surprise, Stokes turned up 
early this morning. When I heard his voice I ex- 
claimed, "I shall live and not die." It inspired me 
with new life. I felt that they had returned that I 
might go with them.' 

And so they had! He had to be carried in a 
hammock, however. In the course of the journey 
he was often at death's door. Clearly, there was 
nothing for it but a return to England. Yet, all the 
way home, he felt that he was beating a retreat. 

'No man, having put his hand to the plough, and 
looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God!' The 
words haunted him night and day as he paced the 
deck of the homebound steamer. 

'Forgive the one that turned back!' It is with 

1 82 A Bunch of Everlastings 

that penitent petition that he closes this chapter of 
the diary. 


He turned back, but not for long. He had put 
his hand to the plough, and he felt that, to show 
himself fit for the Kingdom of God, he must faith- 
fully finish the furrow. He had solemnly given 
himself to Africa, and he was unwilling to take back 
his gift. In 1883, at the age of thirty-six, he found 
himself in England, rejoicing in the sweet society 
of wife and children and friends. Little by little 
his health came back to him; and with its coming, 
his old text said its say : 

*Not fit for the Kingdom of God!' 

'No man looking hack, is fit for the Kingdom of 

'No man, having put his hand to the plough, and 
looking hack, is fit for the Kingdom of God!' 

In Mr. Dawson's great biography, only half a 
dozen pages intervene between his arrival in Eng- 
land in June, 1883, and his consecration as Bishop 
of Eastern Equatorial Africa, in the June of the 
following year. On returning to the dark continent 
he is overjoyed at finding his health as robust as it 
formerly was precarious. *I have to praise God,' 
he says, in one of his early notes, 'for one of the 
most successful journeys, as a journey, that I ever 
took. During a tramp of over four hundred miles, 
I have enjoyed most excellent health.' He delighted 

James Hannington's Text 183 

his friends by completing this preHminary march 
'sunburnt and shaggy, but glowing with vigour.' 
Having thus tested his physical resources, he pre- 
pared for his great march to Uganda. The story 
of that famous and fateful journey need not be 
retold. It is one of the world's great romances. 
Everybody knows now that, all unsuspecting, the 
Bishop went straight to his death. A new king was 
on the throne : the white men were no longer in 
favour : the natives were ready to murder the first 
Englishman they saw. As soon as he drew near 
to the seat of government, he was seized. 'I felt,' 
he says in his last journal, 'that I was being dragged 
away to be murdered ; but I sang, "Safe in the Arms 
of Jesus," and laughed at the very agony of my 
situation.' Each day, though naked, starving, and 
racked with excruciating pains, he dots down in his 
diary the thoughts that comfort him. He can only 
write two or three words at a time, but he contrives 
to enter up the journal to the last. *No news!' he 
says, in the final entry. 'I was upheld by the 
thirtieth Psalm, which came with great power. A 
hyena howled near me last night, smelling a sick 
man, but I hope it is not to have me yet.' The next 
day the native warriors, sent by the king, came to 
kill him. He struggled to his feet, stood erect, and 
told them that he was glad to die for them and for 
their people. Seeing them hesitate as to how to 
end his life, he pointed to his own gun, and, with it, 
they despatched him. He was only thirty-eight. 

z84 A Bunch of Everlastings 

To-day a great cathedral marks the spot where he 
fell. 'Never in my life was I so moved,' says 
Bishop Tucker, 'as when I preached in that cathedral 
to a congregation of from four to five thousand 
people. Many of the communicants bore upon their 
bodies the scars and disfigurements of their former 
barbarity.' Clearly he did not die in vain. 

'If,' he says, in his last letter, 'if this is the last 
chapter of my earthly history, then the next will be 
the first page of the heavenly — no blots and smudges, 
no incoherence, but sweet converse in the Presence 
of the Lamb!' 

He put his hand to the plough! 

He finished his furrow, never looking back! 

He was fit for the Kingdom of God! 


The hand that struck the shackles from the galled 
limbs of our British slaves was the hand of a hunch- 
back. One of the triumphs of statuary in West- 
minster Abbey is the seated figure that, whilst faith- 
fully perpetuating the noble face and fine features 
of Wilberforce, skilfully conceals his frightful 
physical deformities. From infancy he was an 
elfish, misshapen little figure. At the Grammar 
School at Hull, the other boys would lift his tiny, 
twisted form on to the table and make him go 
through all his impish tricks. For, though so piti- 
fully stunted and distorted, he was amazingly 
sprightly, resourceful and clever. A master of 
mimicry, a born actor, an accomplished singer and a 
perfect elocutionist, he was as agile, also, as a mon- 
key and as full of mischief. Every day he enlivened 
his performance by the startling introduction of 
some fresh antics that convulsed alike his school- 
fellows and his teachers. He is the most striking 
illustration that history can offer of a grotesque 
and insignificant form glorified by its consecration to 
a great and noble cause. Recognising the terrible 


1 86 A Bunch of Everlastings 

handicap that Nature had imposed upon him, he set 
himself to counterbalance matters by acquiring a 
singular graciousness and charm of manner. He 
succeeded so perfectly that his courtliness and grace 
became proverbial. It was said of him that, if you 
saw him in conversation with a man, you would 
suppose that the man was his brother, or, if with 
a woman, that he was her lover. He made men for- 
get his strange appearance. When he sprang to his 
feet to plead the cause of the slave, he seemed like 
a man inspired, and his disfigurement magically 
vanished, *I saw,' says Boswell, in his letter to 
Mr. Dundas, *I saw a shrimp mount the table; but, 
as I listened, he grew and grew until the shrimp 
became a whale!' When he rose to address the 
House of Commons, he looked like a dwarf that 
had jumped out of a fairy-tale; when he resumed 
his seat, he looked like the giant of the self-same 
story. His form, as the Times said, 'was like the 
letter S; it resembled a stick that could not be 
straightened.' Yet his hearers declare that his face, 
when pleading for the slave, was like the face of an 
angel. The ugliness of his little frame seemed to 
disappear; and, under the magic of his passionate 
eloquence, his form became sublime. When, in 1833, 
he passed away, such a funeral procession made its 
way to Westminster Abbey as even London had 
rarely witnessed. He was borne to his last resting 
place by the Peers and Commoners of England with 
the Lord Chancellor at their head. In imperishable 

William Wilberforce's Text 187 

marble it was recorded of him that 'he had removed 
from England the guilt of the slave-trade and pre- 
pared the way for the abolition of slavery in every 
colony in the Empire.* And it is said that, as the 
cortege made its sombre way through the crowded 
streets, all London was in tears, and one person in 
every four was garbed in deepest black. 


Among Sir James Stephen's masterpieces of bio- 
logical analysis, there is nothing finer than his essay 
on Wilberforce. But he confesses to a difficulty. 
There is, he says, something hidden. You cannot 
account for his stupendous influence by pointing to 
anything that lies upon the surface. 'What that 
hidden life really was,' Sir James observes, 'none 
but himself could know, and few indeed could even 
plausibly conjecture. But even they who are the 
least able to solve the enigma may acknowledge and 
feel that there was some secret spring of action on 
which his strength was altogether dependent.' Now, 
what was that hidden factor ? What was the 'secret 
spring of action' that explains this strangely- 
handicapped yet wonderfully-useful life? Can I 
lay my finger on the source of all these beneficent 
energies? Can I trace the hidden power that im- 
pelled and directed these fruitful and epoch-making 
activities? I think I can. Behind all that appears 
upon the surface there lies a great experience, a 

x88 A Bunch of Everlastings 

great thought, a great text. I find it at the begin- 
ning of his career; I find it again at the close. 

As a youth, preparing himself to play some worthy 
part in life, Wilberforce travels. Thrice he tours 
Europe, once in the company of William Pitt, then 
a young fellow of exactly his own age, and twice 
in the company of Isaac Milner, the brilliant brother 
of his Hull schoolmaster. It was in the course of 
one of these tours that the crisis of his inner life 
overtook him. Milner and he made it a practice to 
carry with them a few books to read on rainy days. 
Among these oddly-assorted volumes they slipped 
into their luggage a copy of Dr. Doddridge's 'Rise 
and Progress of Religion in the Soul.' It was a 
dangerous companion for young men who prized 
their peace of mind ; no book of that period had 
provoked more serious thought. It certainly set 
Wilberforce thinking; and not all the festivities of 
his tour nor the laughter of his friends could dispel 
the feeling that now took sole possession of his mind. 
One over-powering emotion drove out all others. 
It haunted him sleeping and waking. 'My sin !' he 
cried, 'my sin, my sin, my sin !' — it was this thought 
of his condition that filled him with apprehension 
and despair. 

'The deep guilt and black ingratitude of my past 
life,' he says, 'forced itself upon me in the strongest 
colours; and I condemned myself for having wasted 
my precious time and talents. It was not so much 
the fear of punishment as a sense of my great sin- 

William Wilberforce's Text 189 

fulness. Such was the effect which this thought 
produced that for months I was in a state of the 
deepest depression from strong conviction of my 

My deep guilt! 

My great sinfulness! 

My black ingratitude! 

It was then, at the age of twenty-six, that his 
soul gathered itself up in one great and bitter 

'God be merciful to me a sinner!' he implored; 
and, on receiving an assurance that his prayer was 
heard — as all such prayers must be — he breaks out 
in a new strain, 'What infinite love,' he says, 'that 
Christ should die to save such a sinner!' 

'My sin! My sin! My sin!' 

'God be merciful to me a sinner!' 

'That Christ should die to save such a sinner!' 
This was in 1785. Wilberforce stood then at the 
dawn of his great day. 

For the second scene we must pass over nearly 
half a century. His career is drawing to its close. 
The twisted little body is heavily swathed in wrap- 
pings and writhes in pain. Hearing of his serious 
sickness, his Quaker friend, Mr. Joseph Gurney, 
comes to see him. 

'He received me with the warmest marks of af- 
fection,' Mr. Gurney says, 'and seemed delighted 
at the unexpected arrival of an old friend. The 
illuminated expression of his furrowed countenance. 

iQo A Bunch of Everlastings 

with his clasped and uplifted hands, were indicative 
of profound devotion and holy joy. He un- 
folded his experience to me in a highly interesting 

'With regard to myself,' said Mr. Wilberforce, 
before taking a last farewell of his friend, 'with re- 
gard to myself, I have nothing whatever to urge but 
the poor publican's plea, "God he merciful to me a 
sinner!" ' 

'These words,' adds Mr. Gurney, 'were expressed 
with peculiar feeling and emphasis.' 

'God he merciful to me a sinner!' — it was the 
cry of his heart in 1785, as his life lay all before 

'God he merciful to me a sinner!' — it was still the 
cry of his heart in 1833, the time when his life 
lay all behind. 

Here, then, is William Wilberforce's text! It 
will do us good to listen to it as, once and again, 
it falls from his lips. In outlining the events that 
led Christiana to forsake the City of Destruction 
and to follow her husband on pilgrimage, Bunyan 
tells us that she had a dream, 'And behold, in her 
dream, she saw as if a broad parchment was opened 
before her, in which was recorded the sum of her 
ways; and the times, as she thought, looked very 
black upon her. Then she cried out aloud in her 
sleep, "God he merciful to me a sinner!" And the 
little children heard her,' It was well that she cried : 
it was well that the children heard: it led to their 

William Wilberforce's Text 191 

setting out together for the Cross, the Palace Beau- 
tiful and the City of Light. It will be well indeed 
for us if, listening to William Wilber force as he 
offers the same agonising petition, we, like Chris- 
tiana's children, become followers of his faith and 
sharers of his joy. 


They are very few, I suppose, who would envy 
William Wilberforce the wretchedness that dark- 
ened his soul at Spa in the course of that third 
European tour, the wretchedness that led him to cry 
out for the everlasting mercy. He was then twenty- 
six; and if any young fellow of twenty-six enter- 
tains the slightest doubt as to the desirability of such 
a mournful experience, I should like to introduce 
that young fellow first to Robinson Crusoe and then 
to old William Cottee, of Theydon Bois. We all 
remember the scene in which Robinson Crusoe, soon 
after his shipwreck, searched the old chest for to- 
bacco and found — a Bible! He began to read. *It 
was not long after I set seriously to this work,' he 
tells us, 'that I found my heart more deeply and 
sincerely affected with the wickedness of my past 
life. The impression of my dream revived, and the 
words, "All these things have not brought thee to 
repentance," ran seriously in my thoughts. I was 
earnestly begging of God to give me repentance, 
when it happened providentially, that very day, that, 
reading the Scripture, I came to these words, "He 

igi A Bunch of Everlastings 

is exalted a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance 
and to give remission." I threw down the book, 
and, with my heart as well as my hands lifted up to 
Heaven, in a kind of ecstasy of joy, I cried out 
aloud, "J^sus, Thou Son of David, Thou exalted 
Prince and Saviour, give me repentance." This was 
the first time that I could say, in the true sense of 
the word, that I prayed in all my life!' 

'Give me repentance!' — this was Robinson Cru- 
soe's first prayer. But, for William Wilberforce, 
bemoaning at Spa the list of his transgressions, the 
prayer is already answered. They may pity him 
who will : Robinson Crusoe will ofifer him nothing 
but congratulations. 

So will old William Cottee. The old gentleman 
was well over ninety, and was bedridden, when, in 
my college days, I visited him. He has long since 
passed from his frailty to his felicity. I used occa- 
sionally to preach in the village sanctuary, and was 
more than once the guest of the household that he 
adorned. No such visit was complete without an 
invitation to go upstairs and have a talk with grand- 
father. As a rule, however, those talks with grand- 
father were a little embarrassing — to a mere student. 
For a ministerial student moves in an atmosphere in 
which his theological opinions are treated, to say 
the least, with respect. He is quite sure of them 
himself, and he likes other people to exhibit equal 
confidence. But poor old William Cottee had no 
respect at all for any theological opinions of mine. 

William Wilberforce's Text 193 

He was a sturdy old hyper-Calvinist, and, to him, 
the doctrines that I expounded with such assurance 
were mere milk and water, mostly water. One 
afternoon I found the old gentleman bewailing the 
exceeding sinfulness of his evil heart. This seemed 
to me, viewing the matter from the point of view of 
a theological student, a very primitive experience 
for so mature a saint. Perhaps I as good as said 
so : I forget. I only remember that, in response to 
my shallow observation, the old gentleman sat 
straight up in bed — a thing I had never seen him do 
before — stared at me with eyes so full of reproach 
that they seemed to pierce my very soul, and slowly 
recited a verse that I had never before heard and 
have never since forgotten : 

What comfort can a Saviour bring 
To those who never felt their woe? 

A sinner is a sacred thing 

The Holy Ghost hath made him so ! 

Ministers often learn from those they seem to 
teach; but it rarely happens that a profound and 
awful and searching truth rushes as startlingly upon 
a man as this one did that day upon me. It is a hard 
saying; who can hear it? But the wise will under- 
stand. Because of the lesson that he then taught 
me — to say nothing of the fact that one of his grand- 
daughters has proved for many years the best wife 
any minister ever had — I have always thought kindly 
of old William Cottee. I never heard the old man 
refer to Robinson Crusoe in any way; but I am sure 

194 A Bunch of Everlastings 

that he would join the redoubtable islander in con- 
gratulating William Wilberforce on the experience 
that overtook him in his twenty-sixth year. The 
sunlit passages in life are not always the most profit- 
able : it is through much tribulation that we enter the 


^My sin! My sin! My sin!' 

'God be merciful to me a sinner!' 

'What infinite love that Christ should die to save 
such a sinner!' 

Wilberforce felt that such infinite love demanded 
the fullest requital he could possibly offer. Those 
who have been greatly saved must greatly serve. I 
like to think of that memorable day on which the 
two friends — Wilberforce and Pitt — lay sprawling 
on the grass under a grand old oak tree in the beau- 
tiful park at Hoi wood, in Kent. A solid stone seat 
now stands beside the tree, bearing an inscription 
commemorative of the historic occasion. For it was 
then — and there — that Wilberforce solemnly de- 
voted his life to the emancipation of the slaves. He 
had introduced the subject with some diffidence; 
was delighted at Pitt's evident sympathy; and, 
springing to his feet, he declared that he wjould set 
to work at once to abolish the iniquitous traffic. Few 
of us realise the immense proportions that the British 
slave trade had then assumed. During the eighteenth 
century, nearly a million blacks were transported, 

William Wilberforce's Text 195 

with much less consideration than would have been 
shown to cattle, from Africa to Jamaica alone. From 
his earliest infancy, the horror of the traffic preyed 
upon the sensitive mind of William Wilberforce. 
When quite a boy he wrote to the papers, protesting 
against 'this odious traffic in human flesh.' Now, 
a young fellow in the twenties, he made its extinc- 
tion the purpose of his life. For fifty years he never 
rested. Through evil report and through good, he 
tirelessly pursued his ideal. At times the opposition 
seemed insuperable. But Pitt stood by him; the 
Quakers and a few others encouraged him to per- 
sist; John Wesley, only a few days before his death, 
wrote begging the reformer never to give up. After 
twenty years of incessant struggle, it was enacted 
that the exportation of slaves from Africa should 
cease; but no relief was offered to those already in 
bondage. A quarter of a century later, as Wilber- 
force lay dying, messengers from Westminster en- 
tered his room to tell him that at last, at last, the 
Emancipation Bill had been passed ; the slaves were 
free! 'Thank God!' exclaimed the dying man, 
'thank God that I have lived to see this day!' Like 
Wolfe at Quebec, like Nelson at Trafalgar, like Sir 
John Franklin in the North- West Passage, he died 
in the flush of triumph. He had resolved that, as 
an expression of his gratitude for his own deliv- 
erance, he would secure for the slaves their free- 
dom; and he passed away rejoicing that their fetters 
were all broken and gone. 

196 A Bunch of Everlastings 

'God he merciful to me a sinner!' — this was his 
prayer in 1785, as his Hfe lay all before him. 

'God he mercifiil to me a sinner!' — this was his 
prayer in 1833, as he lay a-dying with his life-work 

William Wilberforce reminds me of William 
MacLure. There were many saints in Drumtochty, 
but there was no greater saint than old Dr. MacLure. 
Rich and poor, young and old ; the good doctor on 
his white pony had fought his way through the dark 
nights and the deep snowdrifts of the glen to help 
and heal them all. And now he is dying himself! 
Drumsheugh sits beside the bed. The doctor asks 
him to read a bit. Drumsheugh puts on his specta- 

*Ma mither/ he says, *aye wanted this read tae 
her when she was sairly sick,' and he begins to read 
'In My Father's house are many mansions . . . .* 
But the doctor stops him. 

Tt's a bonnie word,' he says, 'but it's no for 
the likes o' me!' And he makes him read 
the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican till 
he comes to the words, 'God he merciful to me 
a sinner!' 

'That micht hae been written for me, Drum- 
sheugh, or any ither auld sinner that has feenished 
his life, an' hes naething tae say for himself.' 

Exactly so spake William Wilberforce. Mr. 

William Wilberforce's Text 197 

Gurney quoted many great and comfortable Scrip- 
tures, but the dying man shook his head. 

*With regard to myself,' he said, 'I have nothing 
whatever to urge but the poor publican's plea, *'God 
be merciful to me a sinner!" ' 

In what better company than in the company of 
William MacLure and William Wilberforce can we 
enter the kingdom of God? 



John Wesley made history wholesale. *You can- 
not cut him out of our national life,' Mr. Augustine 
Birrell declares. If you could, the gap would be 
as painful as though you had overthrown the Nelson 
column in Trafalgar Square or gashed Mount 
Everest out of the Himalaya Ranges. Lecky, who is 
a pastmaster in the art of analysing great movements 
and in tracing the psychological influences from 
which they sprang, says that the conversion of John 
Wesley formed one of the grand epochs of English 
history. His conversion, mark you! Lecky goes 
on to say that the religious revolution begun in Eng- 
land by the preaching of the Wesleys is of greater 
historic importance than all the splendid victories 
by land and sea won under Pitt. The momentous 
event to which the historian points, be it noted, is 
not Wesley's birth, but his re-birth. It is his con- 
version that counts. In order that I may scrutinise 
once more the record of that tremendous event in 
our national annals, I turn afresh to Wesley's jour- 
nal. It was on May 24, 1738. Wesley was engaged 
in those days in a persistent and passionate quest. 


John Wesley's Text 199 

He had crossed the Atlantic as a missionary only 
to discover the waywardness and wickedness of his 
own evil heart. 'What have I learned?' he asks 
himself when he finds himself once more on English 
soil. 'What have I learned? Why, I have learned 
what I least of all suspected, that I, who went to 
America to convert the Indians, was never myself 
converted to God!' One day, early in 1738, he is 
chatting with three of his friends when all at once 
they begin to speak of their faith, the faith that 
leads to pardon, the faith that links a man with God, 
the faith that brings joy and peace through believing. 
Wesley feels that he would give the last drop of his 
blood to secure for himself such an unspeakable 
treasure. Could such a faith be his ? he asks his com- 
panions. 'They replied with one mouth that this 
faith was the gift, the free gift of God, and that He 
would surely bestow it upon every soul who earnestly 
and perseveringly sought it.' Wesley made up his 
mind that, this being so, it should be his. *I resolved 
to seek it unto the end,' he says. *I continued to 
seek it,' he writes again, *until May 24, 1738.' And, 
on May 24, 1738, he found it! That Wednesday 
morning, before he went out, he opened his Bible 
haphazard, and a text leapt out at him. 'Thou art 
not very far from the kingdom of God!' It strangely 
reassured him. 

*The kingdom of God!' 

'Far from the kingdom of God!' 

'Not very far from the kingdom of God!* 

200 A Bunch of Everlastings 

How far ? He was so near that, that very evening, 
he entered it ! 'In the evening' he says, in the entry 
that has become one of the monuments of English 
literature, 'in the evening I went very unwillingly 
to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was 
reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the 
Romans. About a quarter before nine, zvhile he was 
describing the change which God works in the heart 
through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely 
warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, 
for salvation: and an assurance was given me that 
He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved 
me from the laivs of sin and death.' 

Here is a sailor ! He finds himself far, far from 
port, with no chart, no compass, no hope of ever 
reaching his desired haven ! Later on, he shades his 
eyes with his hand and actually sees the bluff head- 
lands that mark the entrance to the harbor : he is not 
very far from the city of his desire ! And, later still, 
the bar crossed and the channel found, he finds 
himself lying at anchor in the bay. 

So it was with John Wesley. When he returned 
from Georgia, he was far, very far from the king- 
dom of God. When he opened his Bible that 
Wednesday morning, he was not very far from the 
kingdom of God. And that same evening, at Aiders- 
gate Street, he passed through the gates into the 
Hght and liberty of the kingdom. 

So far from the kingdom! 

Not far from the kingdom! 

John Wesley's Text 201 

The kingdom! The kingdom! The kingdom of 


It is a beautiful thing to have been brought near 
to the kingdom of God. Many influences combined 
to bring John Wesley near. To begin with, he had a 
mother; one of the most amazing mothers that even 
England — that land of noble mothers — has pro- 
duced. Susanna Wesley was a marvel of nature 
and a miracle of grace. To begin with, she was the 
twenty-fifth child of her father ; and, to go on with, 
she had nineteen children of her own! And she 
found time for each of them. In one of her 
letters, she tells how deeply impressed she was on 
reading the story of the evangelistic efforts of the 
Danish missionaries in India. *It came into my 
mind,' she says, 'that I might do more than I do. 
I resolved to begin with my own children. I take 
such proportion of time as I can best spare to dis- 
course every night with each child by itself.' Later 
on, people began to marvel at her remarkable in- 
fluence over her children. 'There is no mystery 
about the matter,' she writes again, 'I just took 
Molly alone with me into my own room every Mon- 
day night, Hetty every Tuesday night, Nancy every 
Wednesday night, Jacky every Thursday night, 
and so on, all through the week ; that was all !* Yes, 
that was all; but see how it turned out! *I cannot 
remember,' says John Wesley, *I cannot remember 

202 A Bunch of Everlastings 

ever having kept back a doubt from my mother; 
she was the one heart to whom I went in absolute 
confidence, from my babyhood until the day of her 
death/ Such an influence could only tend to bring 
him near to the kingdom of God. 

Then there was the fire ! John never forgot that 
terrible night. He was only six. He woke up to 
find the old rectory ablaze from the ground to the 
roof. By some extraordinary oversight, he had been 
forgotten when everybody else was dragged from 
the burning building. In the nick of time, just 
before the roof fell in with a crash, a neighbour, 
by climbing on another man's shoulders, contrived 
to rescue the terrified child at the window. To the 
last day of his life Wesley preserved a crude picture 
of the scene. And underneath it was written, *Is 
not this a brand plucked from the burning?' It 
affected him as a somewhat similar escape affected 
Clive. 'Surely God intends to do some great thing 
by me that He has sq miraculously preserved me!' 
exclaimed the man who afterwards added India to 
the British Empire. When a young fellow of 
eighteen, Richard Baxter was thrown by a restive 
horse under the wheel of a heavy waggon. Quite 
unaccountably, the horse instantly stopped. 'My 
life was miraculously saved,' he wrote, 'and I then 
and there resolved that it should be spent in the 
service of others.' Dr. Guthrie regarded as one of 
the potent spiritual influences of his life his mar- 
vellous deliverance from being dashed to pieces over 

John Wesley's Text 203 

a precipice at Arbroath. In his 'Grace Abounding,' 
Bunyan tells how he was affected by the circum- 
stance that the man who took his place at the siege 
of Leicester was shot through the head whilst on 
sentry-duty and killed instantly. Such experiences 
tend to bring men within sight of the kingdom of 
God. Wesley never forgot the fire. 


It is a great thing to recognise that, though near 
to the kingdom, one is still outside. 

Sir James Simpson, the discoverer of chloroform, 
used to say that the greatest discovery that he ever 
made was the discovery that he was a sinner and that 
Jesus Christ was just the Saviour he needed. John 
Wesley could have said the same. But, whereas 
Sir James Simpson was able to point to the exact 
date on which the sense of his need broke upon him, 
John Wesley is not so explicit. He tells us that it 
was in Georgia that he discovered that he, the would- 
be converter of Indians, was himself unconverted. 
And yet, before he left England, he wrote to a 
friend that his chief motive in going abroad was the 
salvation of his own soul. As soon as he arrived 
on the other side of the Atlantic, he made the ac- 
quaintance of August Spangenberg, a Moravian 
pastor. A conversation took place which Wesley 
records in his journal as having deeply impressed 

*My brother,' said the devout and simple-minded 

204 A Bunch of Everlastings 

man whose counsel he had sought, *I must ask you 
one or two questions: Do you know Jesus Christ?' 

*I know,' repHed Wesley, after an awkward pause, 
*I know that he is the Saviour of the world.' 

'True,' answered the Moravian, 'but do you know 
that He has saved you?' 

*I hope He has died to save me,' Wesley re- 

The Moravian was evidently dissatisfied with 
these vague replies, but he asked one more question. 

'Do you know yourself !' 

*I said that I did,' Wesley tells us in his journal, 
'but I fear they were vain words !' 

He saw others happy, fearless in the presence of 
aeath, rejoicing in a faith that seemed to trans- 
figure their lives. What was it that was theirs and 
yet not his? 'Are they read in philosophy?' he 
asks. 'So was I. In ancient or modern tongues? 
So was I also. Are they versed in the science of 
divinity? I, too, have studied it many years. Can 
they talk fluently upon spiritual things? I could 
do the same. Are they plenteous in alms ? Behold, 
I give all my goods to feed the poor! I have 
laboured more abundantly than they all. Are they 
willing to suffer for their brethren? I have thrown 
up my friends, reputation, ease, country; I have 
put my life in my hand, wandering into strange 
lands ; I have given my body to be devoured by the 
deep, parched up with heat, consumed by toil and 
weariness. But does all this make me acceptable 

John Wesley's Text 205 

to God! Does all this make me a Christian? By 
no means! I have sinned and come short of the 
glory of God. I am alienated from the life of God. 
I am a child of wrath. I have no hope.' It is a great 
thing, I say, for a man who has been brought within 
sight of the kingdom to recognise frankly that he is, 
nevertheless, still outside it. 


It is a fine thing for a man zvho feels that he is 

outside the kingdom to enter into it. 

In his 'Cheapside to Arcady,' Mr. Arthur Scam- 
mell describes the pathetic figure of an old man he 
often saw in a London slum. 'He had crept forth 
from some poor house hard by, and, propped up by 
a crutch, was sitting on the edge of a low wall in 
the unclean, sunless alley, whilst, only a few yards 
further on, was the pleasant open park, with sun- 
shine, trees and flowers, the river and fresh air, and, 
withal, a more comfortable seat : but the poor old 
man never even looked that way. I have often seen 
him since, always in the same place, and felt that I 
should like to ask him why he sits there in darkness, 
breathing foul air, when the blessed sunshine is 
waiting for him only ten yards off.' 

So near to the sunshine! 

So near to the kingdom! 

Unlike Mr. Scammell's old man, John Wesley 
made the great transition from shadow to sunshine, 
from squalor to song. 

2o6 A Bunch of Everlastings 

*Dost thou believe,' asked Staupitz, the wise old 
monk, 'dost thou believe in the forgiveness of sins ?* 

'I believe,' replied Luther, reciting a clause from 
his familiar credo, 'I believe in the forgiveness of 
sins !' 

'Ah,' exclaimed the elder monk, 'but you must not 
only believe in the forgiveness of David's sins and 
Peter's sins, for this even the devils believe. It is 
God's command that we believe our own sins are 
forgiven us!' 

'From that moment,' says D'Aubigne, 'light 
sprung up in the heart of the young monk at Erfurt.' 

'I believed,' says Luther, 'that my sins, even mine, 
were forgiven me !' 

'I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation,' 
says Wesley, in his historic record, 'and an assur- 
ance was given me that He had taken away my sins, 
even mine!' 

The analogy is suggested by the circumstance that 
it was Luther's commentary that was being read 
aloud at Aldersgate Street that night. 

'My sins, even mine!' says Luther. 

'My sins, even mine!' says Wesley. 

Forty-five years afterwards Mr. Wesley was 
taken very ill at Bristol and expected to die. Calling 
Mr. Badford to his bedside, he observed: 'I have 
been reflecting on my past life. I have been wan- 
dering up and down, these many years, endeavour- 
ing, in my poor way, to do a little good to my fellow- 
creatures; and now it is probable that there is but 

John Wesley's Text 207 

a step between me and death; and what have I to 
trust to for salvation? I can see nothing which I 
have done or suffered that will bear looking at. I 
have no other plea than this : 

"I the chief of sinners am, 
But Jesus died for me." ' 

Eight years later — fifty-three years after the great 
change at Aldersgate Street — he was actually dying. 
As his friends surrounded his bedside, he told them 
that he had no more to say. *I said at Bristol,' he 
murmured, 'that 

"I the chief of sinners am, 
But Jesus died for me." ' 

'Is that/ one asked, 'the present language of your 
heart, and do you feel now as you did then ?' 'I do,* 
replied the dying veteran. 

This, then, was the burden of Wesley's tre- 
mendous ministry for more than fifty-three years. 
It was the confidence of his life and the comfort of 
his death. It was his first thought every morning 
and his last every night. It was the song of his 
soul, the breath of his nostrils, and the light of his 
eyes. This was the gospel that transfigured his own 
experience; and this was the gospel by which he 
changed the face of England. 'John Wesley,' says 
Mr. Birrell, 'paid more turnpikes than any man who 
ever bestrode a beast. Eight thousand miles was 
his annual record for many a long year, during each 
of which he seldom preached less frequently than a 

2o8 A Bunch of Everlastings 

thousand times. No man ever lived nearer the 
centre than John Wesley, neither Clive, nor Pitt, 
nor Johnson, No single figure influenced so many 
minds ; no single voice touched so many hearts. No 
other man did such a life's work for England.' 'The 
eighteenth century,' says President Wilson, 'cried 
out for deliverance and light; and God prepared 
John Wesley to show the world the might and the 
blessing of His salvation.* 


The pity of it is that John Wesley was thirty-five 
when he entered the kingdom. The zest and vigour 
of his early manhood had passed. He was late in 
finding mercy. Thirty-five! Before they reached 
that age, men like Murray McCheyne, Henry 
Martyn, and David Brainerd had finished their life- 
work and fallen into honoured graves. Why was 
Wesley's great day so long in coming? He always 
felt that the fault was not altogether his own. He 
groped in the dark for many years and nobody 
helped him — not even his ministers. William Law 
was one of those ministers, and Wesley afterwards 
wrote him on the subject. 'How will you answer to 
our common Lord,' he asks, 'that you, sir, never led 
me into the light ? Why did I scarcely ever hear you 
name the name of Christ? Why did you never urge 
me to faith in his blood f Is not Christ the First and 
the Last? If you say that you thought I had faith 
already, verily, you know nothing of me. I be- 

John Wesley's Text 209 

seech you, sir, by the mercies of God, to consider 
whether the true reason of your never pressing this 
salvation upon me was not this — that you never had 
it yourself!' 

Here is a letter for a man like Wesley to write 
to a man like Law ! Many a minister has since read 
that letter on his knees and has prayed that he may 
never deserve to receive so terrible a reprimand. 



Could anything be more perfectly beautiful, more 
wonderfully fair ? Far as the eye can reach in every 
direction, the eye is charmed and captivated by the 
loveliness of the landscape. As we pace the deck 
of the steamer as she rides at anchor in the bay, we 
we turn from one prospect to another, uncertain as 
to which of them all is the most delightful. In the 
background the Blue Mountains stand out in sturdy 
and rugged grandeur against the deep blue sky. 
Even at this distance, we get hints of the glorious 
forests that clothe those graceful slopes, and of the 
thickly-wooded valleys that divide range from range. 
What a playground for the countless troops of 
monkeys ! What a paradise for the flocks of gor- 
geously-coloured birds! Their gay plumage flashes 
like flames of fire amidst this riot of gigantic for- 
estry ! Nearer to the coast are the vast plains which, 
built up in the course of ages by tiny coral insects, 
now wave with their flourishing plantations and 
abounding fruitage. For the island is as fertile as 
it is fair, as rich as it is radiant ! Coffee and sugar 


William Knibb's Text 211 

and arrowroot ; orange and lemon and grape ; cinna- 
mon, banana and pineapple; this oval beauty spot 
in sunbathed tropical seas is a congenial garden for 
them all ! Even the ocean that caresses the island 
seems to feel that it must assume a beauty in keeping 
with the loveliness of the land its waters lave. The 
masses of brilliant coral immediately beneath the 
surface impart to the shining waters a sheen of sap- 
phire tints such as the sea but rarely boasts. 'I 
have spent many years,' says a modern traveller, 
*in voyaging from shore to shore; but I know of no 
spot under heaven where the land is so luxuriously 
beautiful and the ocean so extravagantly blue.* This, 
then, is Jamaica ! 


Could anything be more abominable, more repul- 
sively hideous? Life in this scene of enchantment 
was the life, not of paradise, but of perdition. From 
these fruitful plains and flowery valleys there rose 
to heaven, not a song of praise, but a scream of 
intolerable anguish. For Jamaica was the abode of 
slavery. All day long the men must work, and all 
day long the women must weep. But the men will 
derive no satisfaction from their labour and the 
women will find no comfort in their tears. They 
are not their own, these people; far less are they 
each other's. There is no such thing as marriage 
among these ebony-skinned, thick-lipped, woolly- 
haired creatures: and any unions that they form 

212 A Bunch of Everlastings 

among themselves are subject to the exigencies of 
future sales. These little children in which the mis- 
sionaries interest themselves, children with roguish 
eyes and laughing faces, have been bred for the 
market, and they will be sold as soon as their limbs 
are set. Young men and maidens are pretty much 
the same all the world over; you may see a good 
deal of furtive lovemaking of an evening among the 
plantations. But in each lover's heart there is a 
dagger that Cupid never shot. For, as the stalwart 
youth sees his dusky sweetheart growing more 
shapely and more charming, he trembles lest her 
beauty should catch the eye of her overseer and re- 
sult in her being sold to a life that is worse than a 
thousand deaths. The best that he can hope for is 
that he and she may be permitted to live together 
for a few years in some little hut among the bushes 
to produce children for sale at the monthly market. 
And if any slave dares to lift up his hand, or even 
his voice, in rebellion or resentment, there are the 
treadmill and the lash and the knife. The only thing 
that stands between the black man and a cruel death 
is his market value on the plantation or at the auction 
block. Like the asp that Cleopatra concealed among 
the lilies, this hideous evil cried to heaven from 
among the beauteous fields and forests of Jamaica. 
Did heaven hear such piercing cries? And, even if 
heaven heard, how could heaven help? We shall 
see ! But in order to see we must re-cross the At- 
lantic 1 

William Knibb's Text 213 


And here, in a narrow street in Bristol, is a 
printer's shop. The name over the door, compara- 
tively freshly painted, is the name of J. G. Fuller. In 
the printing-room behind the shop are a couple of 
apprentice boys. They are brothers — Thomas and 
William Knibb. Mr, Fuller is the son of the Rev. 
Andrew Fuller of Kettering, one of the founders of 
the modern missionary movement. He has only re- 
cently come to Bristol, hence the newly-painted 
name; and he brought the two Knibbs, Kettering 
boys, with him, Mr, Fuller, with the impress of his 
father's noble character strongly upon him, at once 
associates himself with the Broadmead Church and 
Sunday School, After awhile the two apprentices, 
with the impress of their employer's character 
strongly upon them, associate themselves with the 
same church and take classes in the same Sunday 
School, It is a fine thing when a man's piety is of 
such an order that the youths in his workroom say 
among themselves : 'His religion shall be my re- 
ligion and his God my God!' In due time Mr, 
Fuller became superintendent of the Sunday School, 
and made it his practice to deliver a short address 
before closing the school. It was one of those ad- 
dresses that made history, I have heard of a man 
aiming at a pigeon and killing a crow, but I know 
of no instance in which that remarkable feat was 
performed on such a splendid scale as in the con- 

214 A Bunch of Everlastings 

version of William Knibb. One Sunday afternoon, 
before dismissing the children, Mr. Fuller spoke 
for a few moments from the text : 'Wilt Thou not 
from this time cry unto me. My Father, Thou art 
the guide of my youth f Mr, Fuller aimed at the 
scholars, but his words smote the conscience and 
won the heart of a teacher, and that teacher one of 
his own apprentices! 'It was a most earnest and 
affectionate address,' wrote William Knibb, shortly 
afterwards, 'and, under the divine blessing, it made 
a deep and, I trust, a lasting impression on my 
mind, and I hope that I was enabled to cast myself 
at the foot of the Cross as a perishing sinner, plead- 
ing for mercy for the sake of Jesus Christ and for 
His sake alone!' A day or two later the youth 
sought an interview with his employer. 'I felt 
ashamed,' said Knibb, in the course of this con- 
versation with Mr, Fuller, 'I felt ashamed, being a 
teacher, that the address should be as suitable to me 
as to the children. I felt conscious that I had wan- 
dered as far from God as ever they had, and that 
I needed a forgiving Father and a constant guide as 
much as they did, I was overwhelmed. I felt such 
a mixture of shame and grief, of hope and love, as 
I had never felt before and cannot now describe, I 
could not join in the closing hymn. I went to my 
room above and yielded to my feelings. I wept 
bitterly and prayed as I had never prayed before. 
I turned the text itself into a prayer. "My Father," 
I cried to God, "wilt not Thou from this time be the 

William Knibb's Text 215 

guide of my youthf" The Lord heard my prayer 
and enabled me to give Him my heart ; and now it is 
my earnest desire to yield myself to His guidance 
as long as I live!' 

'I needed a forgiving Father!' 

'I needed a constant Guide!' 

'My Father, wilt not Thou be the guide of my 

*The Lord heard my prayer!' the apprentice says 
exultingly, as he looks gratefully into his employer's 
face. And when the Lord heard that prayer, He 
heard the bitter cry of the island whose fair shores 
we just now visited; for the salvation of William 
Knibb was the deliverance of the slaves across the 


And yet it was not William Knibb, but Thomas, 
who was most concerned about the lands that lay 
in darkness. In setting up some copy that had come 
into the printing-room, the elder of the two ap- 
prentices had been startled by the crying needs of 
the heathen world. He longed to be a missionary. 
When, one day, somebody referred to the successes 
being achieved by native preachers, Thomas burst 
into tears. His younger brother asked him why he 
wept. T am greatly afraid,' Thomas replied, 'that, 
since the native preachers are so successful, no more 
white missionaries will be needed; and I shall have 
no part in the evangelisation of the world!' His 

2i6 A Bunch of Everlasting 

fears, however, were groundless. He became a 
missionary; was designated for Jamaica; arrived 
there in January, 1823; and died of malaria just 
three months later. It was a dark day for the 
younger brother when the heavy tidings reached 
England. But he met the crisis, his biographer tells 
us, with characteristic firmness and promptitude. 
When the news of his brother's death was com- 
municated to him by Mr. Fuller, his feelings were 
strongly excited and he wept bitterly. But, as soon 
as the first gush of emotion had subsided, he rose 
from the table and said: 'Then, if the society will 
accept me, I'll go and take his place !' 

A forgiving Father! 

A constant Guide! 

'My Father, wilt not Thou he the guide of my 

In the cry of an enslaved people, fortified and 
intensified by a cry from his brother's grave, Wil- 
liam Knibb recognised the leading of the Kindly 
Light. The *Guide of his Youth' was pointing the 
way, and he bravely followed the gleam. 


*My Father,' he cried, on that never-to-be-for- 
gotten Sunday afternoon, 'will not Thou he the guide 
of my youth?' And not once, through all the event- 
ful years that followed, did that clear guidance fail 
him ! He went out to Jamaica to preach the gospel ; 
but he soon came to feel — as Livingstone felt on the 

William Knibb's Text 217 

other side of the Atlantic a few years afterwards — 
that the work of evangelisation and the work of 
emancipation are inseparable. Christianity could 
make no terms with slaver)^ Little by little he was 
led, by the Invisible Guide whose beckoning hand he 
had pledged himself to follow, into a work that he 
had never for a moment anticipated. The sights that 
he witnessed sickened him; they became the cease- 
less torture of his soul. He felt that no sacrifice 
would be too great if only he could strike the 
shackles from the limbs of the slaves. And he made 
terrific sacrifices! The guidance that he had so 
passionately sought rarely led him in green pastures 
or beside still waters. It led him, rather, into ter- 
rible privations, relentless persecution and desolating 
bereavements. In that fever-laden climate he, one 
by one, buried his children almost as soon as they 
were born. One, the boy whom he named after him- 
self, was spared to see his twelfth birthday, but the 
others were lowered as babes into his brother's grave. 
From one of these heart-rending burials after an- 
other he turned sadly away, the father-soul within 
him longing for life in a land in which his little ones 
could live. But the reformer-soul within him de- 
termined never to leave the island till all the slaves 
were free. On more than one occasion he was 
charged with rebellion, handcuffed, and dragged 
about the island, his persecutors heaping upon him 
every form of indignity that would be calculated to 
degrade him in the eyes of the slaves. The churches 

2i8 A Bunch of Everlastings 

that he had erected at such cost, and in which he 
had taken such pride, were burned down by the 
slave-owners before his very eyes. He was spared 
no humiHation that could tend to his embarrassment 
and discomfiture. He visited England in order that 
he might stir his fellow-countrymen to righteous in- 
dignation. The whole country was moved by the 
passion and the pathos of those tremendous appeals. 
*If I fail in arousing the sympathy of England,' he 
cried, *I will go back to Jamaica and call upon Him 
who hath made of one blood all nations upon the 
earth. And if I die without beholding the emanci- 
pation of my brethren and sisters in Christ, then, 
if prayer is permitted in Heaven, I will fall at the 
feet of the Eternal, crying: "Lord, open the eyes 
of Christians in England to see the evil of slavery 
and to banish it from the earth !" ' But the people 
heard; and the Parliament heard; and the prayer 
of his passionate heart was granted him. 


'Wilt not Thou be the Guide of my youth?' he 

And the Guide led to the goal! As a result of 
Mr. Knibb's tireless activities, the slaves were freed ! 
Their emancipation came into force at midnight on 
July 31, 1838. And what is this? As the historic 
hour draws near, the exultant slaves gather in their 
thousands at the church. During the evening, 
hymns are sung, the excited blacks joining in the 

William Knibb's Text 219 

praise with a zest that even they have never shown 
before. As the night deepens the emotion becomes 
more intense. As the hand of the clock approaches 
the midnight hour, Mr. Knibb, standing in the pul- 
pit, shouts, 'The Monster is dying!' As the clock 
begins to strike he cries again: 'The Monster is 
dying!' And when the hour has fully struck he 
proclaims : 'The Monster is dead !' The scene is 
indescribable. 'Never/ wrote Knibb, 'was heard 
such a sound. The winds of freedom appeared to 
have been let loose. The very building shook at 
the strange, yet sacred, joy. Oh, had my boy, my 
lovely, freedom-loving boy, been there! Alas, he 
is sleeping undisturbed in the churchyard, nor can 
the sweet sounds he so much loved awake him from 
his rest !' In passionate longing to have at least one 
of his children associated with that glad historic 
event, Mr. Knibb slips across to his home, draws 
his twelve-months' old baby from his cot, and, mid- 
night though it is, returns with the child in his arms, 
and holds him proudly up before the shouting, 
clapping, singing multitude. In the early grey of the 
morning, a most remarkable burial takes place in the 
churchyard. One might almost say, in the words 
of Mrs. Alexander: 

That was the grandest funeral 
That ever passed on earth. 

Many of the slaves are skilled cabinet-makers. They 
have prepared a most exquisitely-carved and polished 

220 A Bunch of Everlastings 

coffin, and have dug a deep, deep grave. Into the 
coffin they throw the slave-chain, a slave-whip, a 
slave-hat, and an iron collar — all the insignia of 
their degradation. The great crowd of grateful 
freemen gathers round the open grave and a solemn 
funeral service is held. At the proper moment, the 
coffin is lowered into the yawning grave, the mul- 
titude singing exultingly : 

'Now, Slavery, we lay thy vile form in the dust, 
And, buried for ever, there let it remain : 

And rotted, and covered with infamy's rust, 
Be every man-whip and fetter and chain.' 

The land rings with doxologies. The beauteous 
island is delivered from its hideous curse! The 
Guide has led to the goal! The chains are shat- 
tered ! The slaves are free ! 


Among the people whom he loved so well, the 
people whom he had emancipated and evangelised, 
Knibb died a few years later. He was only forty- 
two when he passed away. T am not afraid to die,' 
he said ; 'the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all 
sin, both of omission and commission ; that blood is 
my only trust!' And, just as the gentle spirit was 
about to take its flight, he reached out his hand to 
Mrs. Knibb and murmured : 'Mary, it is all right : 
all is well !' 

'My Father/ he cried, at the dawn of his career, 

William Knibb's Text 221 

'My Father^ will not Thou be the Guide of my 
youth f 

'It is all right: all is well!' he murmured in the 
last moments of his life. 

The Guide had led to the goal ! Under sure, safe, 
skilful pilotage, the ship had made a good voyage 
and had come straight to port ! William Knibb had 
cast his anchor within the veil ! *It is all right : all 
is well !' Such is the final gladness of all who follow 
faithfully the Kindly Light ! 



John Newton was plagued with a terribly treach- 
erous memory. In his youth it had betrayed and 
nearly ruined him ; how could he ever trust it again ? 
'You must know,' said Greatheart to Christiana's 
boys, 'you must know that Forgetful Green is the 
most dangerous place in all these parts.' John New- 
ton understood, better than any man who ever lived, 
exactly what Greatheart meant. Poor John Newton 
nearly lost his soul on Forgetful Green. His auto- 
biography is filled with the sad, sad story of his for- 
gettings. 'I forgot,' he says again and again and 
again, 'I forgot . . . ! I soon forgot . . . ! This, 
too, I totally forgot!' The words occur repeatedly. 
And so it came to pass that when, after many wild 
and dissolute years, he left the sea and entered the 
Christian ministry, he printed a certain text in bold 
letters, and fastened it right across the wall over 
his study mantelpiece : 





John Newton's Text 223 

A photograph of that mantelpiece Hes before me 
as I write. There, clearly enough, hangs John 
Newton's text! In sight of it he prepared every 
sermon. In this respect John Newton resembled 
Thomas Goodwin. 'When,' says that sturdy Puri- 
tan, in a letter to his son, 'when I was threatening 
to become cold in my ministry, and when I felt 
Sabbath morning coming and my heart not filled 
with amazement at the grace of God, or when I was 
making ready to dispense the Lord's Supper, do you 
know what I used to do? I used to take a turn up 
and down among the sins of my past life, and I al- 
ways came down again with a broken and contrite 
heart, ready to preach, as it was preached in the 
beginning, the forgiveness of sins.' T do not think,' 
he says again, T ever went up the pulpit stair that 
I did not stop for a moment at the foot of it and 
take a turn up and down among the sins of my past 
years. I do not think that I ever planned a sermon 
that I did not take a turn round my study-table and 
look back at the sins of my youth and of all my life 
down to the present ; and many a Sabbath morning, 
when my soul had been cold and dry for the lack of 
prayer during the week, a turn up and down in my 
past life before I went into the pulpit always broke 
my hard heart and made me close with the gospel 
for my own soul before I began to preach.' Like 
this great predecessor of his, Newton felt that, in his 
pulpit preparation, he must keep his black, black past 
ever vividly before his eyes. 

224 A Bunch of Everlastings 

7 forgot . . .! I soon forgot . . .! This, too, 

I totally forgot!* 

'Thou shalt remember, remember, remember!' 
'Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman 

in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God 

redeemed thee!' 


'A bondman!' 

'Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bond- 

The words were literally true! For some time 
Newton was a slavetrader ; but, worse still, for some 
time he was a slave ! Newton's conversion deserves 
to be treasured among the priceless archives of the 
Christian church because of the amazing trans- 
formation it effected. It seems incredible that an 
Englishman could fall as low as he did. As Pro- 
fessor Goldwin Smith says, he was a brand plucked 
from the very heart of the burning! Losing his 
mother — the one clear guiding-star of his early hfe 
— when he was seven, he went to sea when he was 
eleven. 'I went to Africa,' he tells us, 'that I might 
be free to sin to my heart's content.' During the 
next few years his soul was seared by the most 
revolting and barbarous of all human experiences. 
He endured the extreme barbarities of a life before 
the mast; he fell into the pitiless clutches of the 
pressgang; as a deserter from the navy he was 
flogged until the blood streamed down his back; 

John Newton's Text 225 

and he became involved in the unspeakable atrocities 
of the African slave trade. And then, going from 
bad to worse, he actually became a slave himself! 
The slave of a slave! He was sold to a negress 
who, glorying in her power over him, made him 
depend for his food on the crusts that she tossed 
under her table! He could sound no lower depth 
of abject degradation. In the after-years, he could 
never recall this phase of his experience without a 
shudder. As he says in the epitaph that he com- 
posed for himself, he was 'the slave of slaves.' 

'A bondman!' 

'A slave of slaves! A bondman of bondmen!' 

'Thou shall remember that thou wast a bond- 

How could he ever forget ? 


How, I say, could he ever forget? And yet he 
had forgotten other things scarcely less notable. 

As a boy, he was thrown from a horse and nearly 
killed. Looking death in the face in this abrupt and 
untimely way, a deep impression was made. 'But,' 
he says, 7 soon forgot!' 

Some years later, he made an appointment with 
some companions to visit a man-of-war. They were 
to meet at the waterside at a certain time and row 
out to the battleship. But the unexpected happened. 
Newton was detained; his companions left without 

2 26 A Bunch of Everlastings 

him; the boat was upset and they were drowned. 
'I went to the funeral,' Newton says, 'and was ex- 
ceedingly affected. But this, also, I soon forgot!' 

Then came a remarkable dream. Really, he was 
lying in his hammock in the forecastle of a ship 
homeward bound from Italy. But, in his fancy, he 
was back at Venice. It was midnight; the ship, he 
thought, was riding at anchor ; and it was his watch 
on deck. As, beneath a clear Italian sky, he paced 
to and fro across the silent vessel, a stranger sud- 
denly approached him. This mysterious visitant 
gave him a beautiful ring. 'As long as you keep it,' 
he said, 'you will be happy and successful; but, if 
you lose it, you will know nothing but trouble and 
misery.' The stranger vanished. Shortly after, a 
second stranger appeared on deck. The newcomer 
pointed to the ring. 'Throw it away!' he cried, 
'throw it away!' Newton was horrified at the 
proposal; but he listened to the arguments of the 
stranger and at length consented. Going to the side 
of the ship, he flung the ring into the sea. Instantly 
the land seemed ablaze with a range of volcanoes 
in fierce eruption, and he understood that all those 
terribk flames had been lit for his destruction. The 
second stranger vanished; and, shortly after, the 
first returned. Newton fell at his feet and con- 
fessed everything. The stranger entered the water 
and regained the ring. 'Give it me 1' Newton cried, 
in passionate entreaty, 'give it me!' 'No,' replied 
the stranger, 'you have shown that you are unable 

John Newton's Text 227 

to keep it ! I will preserve it for you, and, whenever 
you need it, will produce it on your behalf.' 'This 
dream,' says Newton, 'made a very great impression ; 
but the impression soon wore oflf, and, in a little 
time, / totally forgot it!' 

7 forgot!' 

'This, too, I soon forgot!' 

'In a little time, I totally forgot it!' 

So treacherous a thing was Newton's memory! 
Is it any wonder that he suspected it, distrusted it, 
feared it? Is it any wonder that, right across his 
study wall, he wrote that text? 

'Thou shall remember!' 

'Thou shall remember that thou wast a bond- 

'Thou shall remember that thou wast a bond- 
man, and that the Lord thy God redeemed thee!' 


'Thou shall remember that thou wast a bond- 

'Thou shall remember that the Lord thy God 
redeemed thee!' 

But how? Was the work of grace in John New- 
ton's soul a sudden or a gradual one? It is diffi- 
cult to say. It is always difficult to say. The birth 
of the body is a very sudden and yet a very gradual 
affair : so also is the birth of the soul. To say that 
John Newton was suddenly converted would be to 

228 A Bunch of Everlastings 

ignore those gentle and gracious influences by which 
two good women — his mother and his sweetheart — ■ 
led him steadily heavenwards. *I was born,' New- 
ton himself tells us, * in a home of godliness, and 
dedicated to God in my infancy, I was my mother's 
only child, and almost her whole employment was 
the care of my education.' Every day of her life 
she prayed with him as well as for him, and every 
day she sought to store his mind with those majestic 
and gracious words that, once memorised, can never 
be altogether shaken from the mind. It was the 
grief of her deathbed that she was leaving her boy, 
a little fellow of seven, at the mercy of a rough 
world; but she had sown the seed faithfully, and 
she hoped for a golden harvest. 

Some years later, John Newton fell in love with 
Mary Catlett. She was only thirteen — the age of 
Shakespeare's Juliet. But his passion was no pass- 
ing fancy. *His affection for her,' says Professor 
Goldwin Smith, 'was as constant as it was romantic ; 
his father frowned on the engagement, and he be- 
came estranged from home; but through all his 
wanderings and sufferings he never ceased to think 
of her; and after seven years she became his wife.' 
The Bishop of Durham, in a centennial sermon, de- 
clares that Newton's pure and passionate devotion 
to this simple and sensible young girl was 'the one 
merciful anchor that saved him from final self- 
abandonment.' Say that Newton's conversion was 
sudden, therefore, and you do a grave injustice to 

John Newton's Text 229 

the memory of two women whose fragrant influence 
should never be forgotten. 

And yet it was sudden; so sudden that Newton 
could tell the exact date and name the exact place! 
It took place on the tenth of March, 1748, on board 
a ship that was threatening to founder in the grip 
of a storm. 'That tenth of March/ says Newton, 
'is a day much to be remembered by me; and I have 
never suffered it to pass unnoticed since the year 
1748. For on that day — March 10, 1748 — the Lord 
came from on high and delivered me out of deep 
zvaters.' The storm was terrific : when the ship went 
plunging down into the trough of the seas few on 
board expected her to come up again. The hold 
was rapidly filling with water. As Newton hurried 
to his place at the pumps he said to the captain, *If 
this will not do, the Lord have mercy upon us!* 
His own words startled him. 

'Mercy!' he said to himself, in astonishment, 
'mercy! mercy! What mercy can there be for me? 
This was the first desire I had breathed for mercy 
for many years ! About six in the evening the hold 
was free from water, and then came a gleam of hope. 
I thought I saw the hand of God displayed in our 
favour. I began to pray. I could not utter the 
prayer of faith. I could not draw near to a recon- 
ciled God and call Him Father. My prayer for 
mercy was like the cry of the ravens, which yet the 
Lord Jesus does not disdain to hear.' 

*In the gospel,' says Newton, in concluding the 

230 A Bunch of Everlastings 

story of his conversion, 'in the gospel I saw at least 
a peradventure of hope; but on every other side I 
was surrounded with black, unfathomable despair.' 
On that 'peradventure of hope' Newton staked 
everything. On the tenth of March, 1748, he 
sought mercy — and found it ! He was then twenty- 


Years afterwards, when he entered the Christian 
ministry, John Newton began making history. He 
made it well. His hand is on the nation still. He 
changed the face of England. He began with the 
church. In his 'History of the Church of England,' 
Wakeman gives us a sordid and terrible picture of 
the church as Newton found it. The church was in 
the grip of the political bishop, the fox-hunting 
parson, and an utterly worldly and materialistic 
laity. Spiritual leadership was unknown. John 
Newton and a few kindred spirits, 'the first genera- 
tion of the clergy called "evangelical," ' became — to 
use Sir James Stephen's famous phrase — 'the second 
founders of the Church of England.' There is 
scarcely a land beneath the sun that has been un- 
affected by Newton's influence. As one of the foun- 
ders of the Church Missionary Society, he laid his 
hand upon all our continents and islands. Through 
the personalities of his converts, too, he wielded a 
power that is impossible to compute. Take two, 
by way of illustration. Newton was the means of 

John Newton's Text 231 

the conversion of Claudius Buchanan and Thomas 
Scott. In due time Buchanan carried the gospel 
to the East Indies, and wrote a book which led 
Adoniram Judson to undertake his historic mission 
to Burmah. Scott became one of the most powerful 
writers of his time, and, indeed, of all time. Has 
not Cardinal Newman confessed that it was Scott's 
treatment of the doctrine of the Trinity that pre- 
served his faith, in one of the crises of his soul, 
from total shipwreck? And what ought to be said 
of Newton's influence on men like Wilberforce and 
Cowper, Thornton and Venn? One of our greatest 
literary critics has affirmed that the friendship of 
Newton saved the intellect of Cowper. *If, said 
Prebendary H. E. Fox, not long ago, *if Cowper 
had never met Newton, the beautiful hymns in the 
Olney collection, and that noble poem, "The Task" 
— nearest to Milton in English verse — would never 
have been written.' Moreover, there are Newton's 
own hymns. Wherever, to this day, congregations 
join in singing 'How Sweet the Name of Jesus 
Sounds,' or 'Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken,' 
or 'One There is Above All Others' or 'Amazing 
Grace, how Sweet the Sound' there John Newton 
is still at his old task, still making history ! 


And, all the time, the text hung over the fireplace : 
'Thou shalt remember!' 

232 A Bunch of Everlastings 

'Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bond- 

'Thou shalt remember that the Lord thy God 
redeemed thee!' 

From that time forth Newton's treacherous mem- 
ory troubled him no more. He never again forgot. 
He never could. He said that when, from the hold 
of the sinking ship, he cried for mercy, it seemed to 
him that the Saviour looked into his very soul. 

Sure, never till my latest breath, 

Can I forget that look; 
It seemed to charge me with His death, 

Though not a word He spoke. 

'I forgot . . .! I soon forgot . . .! This, too, I 
totally forgot!' 

'Thou shalt remember that the Lord thy God re- 
deemed thee!' 

'Never till my latest breath can I forget that look!' 

The Rev. Richard Cecil, M.A., who afterwards 
became his biographer, noticing that Newton was 
beginning to show signs of age, urged him one day 
to stop preaching and take life easily. 'What!' he 
replied, 'shall the old African blasphemer stop while 
he can speak at all?' He could not forget. And 
he was determined that nobody else should! In 
order that future generations might know that he 
was a bondman and had been redeemed, he wrote 
his own epitaph and expressly directed that this — 
this and no other — should be erected for him: 

John Newton's Text 233 



Once an Infidel and Libertine, 

A Servant of Slaves in Africa, 


by the Mercy of our Lord and Saviour 

Jesus Christ, 

Preserved, Restored, Pardoned, 

And Appointed to Preach the Faith he 

had so long laboured to destroy. 

No; that treacherous memory of his never be- 
trayed him again! When he was an old, old man, 
very near the close of his pilgrimage, William Jay, 
of Bath, one day met him in the street. Newton 
complained that his powers were failing fast. *My 
memory,' he said, 'is nearly gone; but I remember 
two things, that I am a great sinner and that Christ 
is a great Saviour !' 

'Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bond- 
man in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy 
God redeemed thee!' — that was John Newton's 

'My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two 
things, that I am a great sinner and that Christ is 
a great Saviour!' — that was John Newton's tes- 

234 A Bunch of Everlastings 


7 forgot . . .! I soon forgot. . .! This, too, I 
totally forgot!' 

'Thou shall remember, remember, remember !' 
Newton liked to think that the memory that had 
once so basely betrayed him — the memory that, in 
later years, he had so sternly and perfectly disci- 
plined — would serve him still more delightfully in 
the life beyond. Cowper died a few years before 
his friend; and Newton liked to picture to himself 
their reunion in heaven. He wrote a poem in which 
he represented himself as grasping Cowper's hand 
and rapturously addressing him : 

Oh ! let thy memory wake ! I told thee so ; 
I told thee thus would end thy heaviest woe; 
I told thee that thy God would bring thee here, 
And God's own hand would wipe away thy tear, 
While I should claim a mission by thy side; 
I told thee so — for our Emmanuel died. 

*0h! let thy memory wake!' 

7 forgot . . .! I soon forgot. . .! This, too, I 
totally forgot!' 

'Thou shall remember that the Lord thy God re- 
deemed thee!' 

Newton felt certain that the joyous recollection 
of that infinite redemption would be the loftiest bliss 
of the life that is to be. 



The Magic Music! What is the Magic Music? 
Ever since the world began, poets have let their 
truant fancies play about it, but none of them have 
told us what it is. They have sung to us of the 
bells that peal under the sea, of the songs that are 
heard in the storm, and of sirens that sing on the 
shore. They have told us of cities that mysteriously 
rose to the strains of the lyre of Orpheus; and they 
have told us of cities rendered desolate by the fatal 
lure of the piper's lute; but none of them have 
described those resistless strains, those bewitching 
harmonies, that magic and marvellous music ! What 
is it ? We must try to find out ! 


Right away down among the swamps of the Red 
River district, three slaves sit huddled together at 
the close of a cruel and exhausting day. Two of 
them are women: the third is Uncle Tom. Seeing 
that they are too tired to grind their corn, Tom has 
ground it for them ; and, touched by such uncommon 
sympathy, they have baked his cake for him. Tom 
sits down by the light of the fire and draws out his 
Bible, for he has need of comfort. 


236 A Bunch of Everlastings 

'What's that?' says one of the women. 

*A Bible !' Tom answers. 

'Laws a me! And what's that? Read a piece, 
anyways!' exclaimed the woman, curiously, seeing 
Tom poring so attentively over it. 

'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy- 
laden, and I will give you rest!' 

'Them's good enough words!' exclaimed the as- 
tonished woman. *Who says 'em?' 

And, beginning with those 'good words,' Tom 
tells her the story of Jesus. But let us change the 
scene ! 

We are at the Isle of Wight. And here, in the 
lovely little church at Newport, is the memorial 
that Queen Victoria erected to the memory of the 
Princess Elizabeth. It is by Marochetti, and rep- 
resents, as Mr. William Canton says, one of the 
most touching scenes that a sculptor has ever put into 
marble. It is the figure of a fair young girl in the 
quaintly pretty dress of the, Stuart days. Her eyes 
are closed; her lips are parted with the last faint 
sigh. One arm is laid upon her waist; the other 
has fallen by her side, with the little hand half open 
— it will never more hold anything. Her left cheek 
is resting upon an open Bible, and her long ringlets 
are scattered across the page, but you can read the 
verse : 

'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy- 
laden, and I will give you rest!' 

Let us change the scene again ! We are at Hippo, 

Andrew Puller's Text 237 

in Northern Africa. It is the fifth century. Augus- 
tine bends over his desk. Let us glance over his 
shoulder! What is it that he is writing? 'I have 
read in Plato and in Cicero,' he says, 'many sayings 
that are very wise and very beautiful, but I never 
read in either of them such words as these : "Come 
unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, 
and I will give you rest." ' 

'Those are good words!' says the slave woman, 
as she listens in astonishment to the reading of 
Uncle Tom. 

'Those are good words!' says Queen Victoria, 
as she selects them for inclusion in the sculptor's 

'Those are good words!' says Augustine, as he 
contrasts them with the wealthiest treasures of 
heathen mines. 

Here, then, are words that could pour new hope 
into the empty heart of a despairing slave; words 
that could minister consolation and delight to the 
soul of the world's mightiest sovereign; words that 
could ravish the mind of an old-world scholar and 
saint. Here, if anywhere, we have the Magic Music ! 

'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy- 
laden, and I will give you rest!' 


A Slave's text! 
A Queen's text! 
A Bishop's text! 

238 A Bunch of Everlastings 

And Andrew Fuller's Text! 

Andrew Fuller made history in three several ways. 
To begin at the beginning, he made history by means 
of his exquisitely beautiful life at home. One of 
his sons — Andrew G. Fuller, of Wolverhampton — 
wrote in his old age a biography of his father. 
There were several such works already in existence. 
But, in reading them, the second Andrew Fuller felt 
that none of them had touched the real secret of his 
father's influence and power. He, therefore, took 
his pen, when nearly eighty years of age, and wrote 
his book as a filial tribute to the loveliness, the 
unselfishness and the nobleness of his father's life 
in the home. Another of Andrew Fuller's sons — 
Mr. J. G. Fuller — set up, we have seen, as a printer 
at Bristol. He engaged as his apprentice a young 
fellow named William Knibb. Moved by his 
father's spirit, the master was soon the means of 
his assistant's conversion. Having been led to the 
Saviour by Mr. Fuller, William Knibb became the 
great evangelist of the West Indies and the historic 
deliverer of the slaves. When the glad shout of the 
emancipated blacks echoed through the world, no- 
body thought of Andrew Fuller; yet to Andrew 
Fuller's influence that joyous event was directly 

Andrew Fuller made history by means of one 
of the most scrupulously conscientious ministries 
that we have on record. One illustration must 
suffice. As a young man of six and twenty, he was 

Andrew Puller's Text 239 

minister of the little church at Soham, The mem- 
bership of the church was less than forty ; his salary 
was fifteen pounds a year; and he was far from 
being happy. The congregation was sharply divided 
on acute doctrinal questions; several of the leading 
members treated him with coldness and some with 
bitterness; and every sermon that he preached was 
subjected to the most pitiless criticism. At this 
juncture he was called to the important charge at 
Kettering. The invitation assured him a much 
larger congregation, a much larger salary, and 
absolute unanimity. Yet for two years he hesitated 
as to the course that he ought to pursue. It seemed 
to him that the souls of the people at Soham had 
been committed to his care; and how could he give 
account of them in the Day of Judgement if he 
lightly forsook them? The very troubles of the 
church made it more difficult for his conscience to 
consent to its abandonment. As Dr. Ryland has 
remarked, 'many men would risk the fate of an em- 
pire with fewer searchings of heart than it cost 
Andrew Fuller to determine whether he should 
leave a little dissenting church of less than forty 
members.' But that was the man! And in that 
spirit he lived and laboured to the end of his days. 

But, most memorably of all, Andrew Fuller made 
history as one of our great missionary pioneers. 
When, it has been finely said, when it pleased God 
to awaken from her slumbers a drowsy and lethargic 
church, there rang out, from the belfry of the ages. 

240 A Bunch of Everlastings 

a clamorous and insistent alarm; and, in that 
arousing hour, the hand upon the bell-rope was the 
hand of William Carey. Yes, Carey's was the hand 
that grasped the rope; but Fuller stood beside him 
when he did it. They were partners in the greatest 
of all human enterprises. When Carey preached 
his famous sermon — the sermon that awoke the 
world — Fuller stood beside the pulpit. And Carey 
was only able to go to India because Fuller under- 
took to arouse interest and organise the Church's 
resources at home. *You go down into the mine,' 
said Fuller to Carey, 'and we will hold the ropes!* 
How well he fulfilled his promise, let his biogra- 
phers tell. By holding those ropes, Andrew Fuller 
made history. 


Andrew Fuller was a farmer's son, and, to the end 
of his days, he dearly loved the fields. As a boy, 
he revelled in the life of the village and the country- 
side. We get glimpses of him searching for birds* 
nests in the woods, killing snakes in the lane, and 
sitting with other boys beside the great fire in the 
village smithy. Yet, even in those early days, he 
was conscious of a hunger in his heart that none 
of these pursuits could satisfy. He attended his 
mother's church, but the minister did not help him. 
Mr. Eve was a representative of that grim and stern 
old theology that set the poor boy trembling in every 
limb but offered him no refuge from the terrors it 

Andrew Puller's Text 241 

presented. The more he heard, the more miserable 
he became. In his distress, he collected such books 
as he could find. He read Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's 
Progress' and 'Grace Abounding,' and Erskine's 
'Gospel Sonnets.' 'I read,' he says, ' and as I read 
I wept. Indeed, I was almost overcome with weep- 
ing, so interesting did the doctrine of eternal salva- 
tion appear to me.' But how to make that great 
salvation his? There lay the problem. He discov- 
ered that one of his father's labourers was a very 
religious man. He followed this man into the fields 
and stables and barns, hoping that he would drop 
some word that would dispel the horror of his mind; 
but no emancipating word was spoken. The quest 
seemed hopeless. At the age of fifteen he almost 
abandoned the search. 'I thought,' he says, 'of 
giving up in despair ; why not forget it and take my 
fill of sin?' But the very idea sent a shudder 
through all his frame. His heart revolted. 'What !' 
he said to himself, 'can I give up Christ and hope 
and heaven?' 

Then, one never-to-be-forgotten day, his ears 
were ravished by the Magic Music! He heard the 

'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy- 
laden, and I will give you rest!' 

He looked away from self, his son tells us; and 
fixed his eyes upon a crucified Saviour; his guilt and 
fears began to dissolve like the snows of winter 
under the silent influence of spring-time warmth. 

242 A Bunch of Everlastings 

He was in such dire extremity that, whether it ac- 
corded with the teachings of Mr. Eve or not, he 
determined to venture everything upon Christ! 

'Come unto me!' said the Matchless Music. 

'I must!' his soul made answer. 'I must and I 
will! Yes, I will, I will! I trust my soul — my lost 
and sinful soul — in His hands! I come, I come! 
And if I perish, I perish!' The words are copied 
from his own account of that memorable experience. 

'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy- 
laden, and I will give you rest!' 

He came; and, in coming, he found the rest that 
was promised, the rest he had so diligently sought. 
*I should have found it sooner,' he says, 'if I had 
not entertained the notion of my having no warrant 
to come to Christ without some previous qualifica- 
tion. I mention this,' he adds, 'because it may be 
the case with others who may be kept in darkness 
and despondency by such views much longer than 
I was.' 


During the years that followed, Andrew Fuller 
had his full share of trouble. .Whilst he lay ill in 
one room, his daughter, a little girl of six, died in 
the room adjoining. 

'I heard a whispering,' he says, *and then all were 
silent. All were silent! But all is well. I feel 
reconciled to God. I called my family around my 
bed. I sat up and prayed with them as well as I 

Andrew Fuller's Text 243 

could. I bowed my head and worshipped a taking 
as well as a giving God !' 

Some time afterwards, Mrs. Fuller lost her 
reason. In her frenzy she fancied that he was not 
her husband, but an impostor, who had entered the 
house and taken all that belonged to her. She re- 
garded him as her bitterest enemy and made every 
effort to escape. She had to be watched night and 
day. Just before her death, however, a sudden 
calm stole over her. 'I was weeping,' Mr. Fuller 
says, 'and the sight of my tears seemed to awaken 
her recollection. Fixing her eyes upon me, she 
exclaimed, "Why, are you indeed my husband?" 
"Indeed, my dear, I am!" She then drew near and 
kissed me several times. My heart dissolved with a 
mixture of grief and joy. Her senses were restored, 
and she talked as rationally as ever.' A fortnight 
later she laid a little child in the father's arms and 
then passed quietly away. 

Then again, her eldest boy proved wayward and 
gave him serious trouble. He ran away to sea. It 
was reported that, as a result of a misadventure, 
he had received three hundred lashes, and had died 
under the punishment. *0h,' cried the father, when 
he heard of it, 'this is heart trouble! My boy, my 
boy! He cried and I heard him not! O Absalom! 
my son ! my son ! Would God I had died for thee, 
my son, my son!' 

It turned out, however, that the rumour was false. 
Robert was still alive, and the letters that his father 

244 ^ Bunch of Everlastings 

wrote him are among the tenderest and most per- 
suasive in our Hterature. There is every reason to 
believe that their pleadings had the effect that the 
father most desired. *I was exceedingly intimate 
with Robert/ wrote a shipmate long afterwards. 
*We freely opened our minds to each other. He 
was a very pleasing youth and became a true Chris- 
tian man.' The news of his death, however, was a 
terrible blow to Mr. Fuller. On the Sunday fol- 
lowing its reception, he broke down completely in 
the pulpit, and the whole congregation wept with 

But, through all the clash of feeling and the 
tumult of emotion, the bells were ringing under the 
sea. The Magic Music never ceased. 

'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy- 
laden, and I will gwe you rest!' 

That rest was never broken. When he lay dying 
at the last, he called Dr. Ryland to receive his final 
testimony. *I have no other hope of salvation,' he 
said, 'than through the atonement of my Lord and 
Saviour. With this hope T can go into eternity with 

'I will give you rest!' 

'I go into eternity zvith composure!' 

Rest! Composure! So steadfastly was the 
promise kept to the very, very last! 


As a boy, I came under the influence of a fine 

Andrew Fuller's Text 245 

old clergyman — Canon Hoare, the rector of Holy 
Trinity, Tunbridge Wells — a man very highly es- 
teemed in the South of England. I can see him 
now, tall, stately and grey, my beau ideal of all that 
a minister should be. In his study there hung a 
very beautiful and telling picture. It represented 
a shipwreck from which one life was being saved. 
In confidential moments, Canon Hoare would tell 
the story of the picture. It seems that, years ago, 
a very wealthy man called to arrange with him 
about his burial-place. The Canon walked round 
the churchyard with him, and, after inspecting sev- 
eral possible positions, the gentleman at last selected 
the spot in which he wished his bones to rest. This 
business completed, they paused for a second or 
two, listening to the birds, and then the Canon 
turned to his companion and said : 

*Well, now; you have chosen a resting-place for 
your body. Have you yet found a resting-place 
for your soul?' 

There was silence for a moment, and then, turn- 
ing full upon the Canon, the gentleman exclaimed : 

'You are the first man who ever asked me that 
question !' 

It set him thinking. He sought and found the 
resting-place, the only resting-place, Andrew Fuller's 
resting-place; and he sent the Canon the picture as 
a token of his gratitude. He felt that his was the 
life that had been saved from shipwreck. 

'The Matchless Music!' 

246 A Bunch of Everlastings 

'A Resting-place for the Soul!' 

'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heairy- 
laden, and I will give you rest!' 

He who has heard that music, and found that 
resting-place, will smile at all the buffetings of time 
and pass into eternity with composure. 


A RESTLESS and adventurous Quaker was Stephen 
Grellet. He yearned to live to the age of Methuselah, 
and, had his wish been granted, he would have made 
good use of every moment of his time. The marvel 
is, however, that he lived to be eighty-two. He was 
nearly hanged to a lamp-post by infuriated revolu- 
tionists in Paris; he was twice faced with death by 
drowning — once in a swollen mill-race and once at 
a flooded ford ; he twice fell into the hands of pirates 
from whose cutlasses he had good reason to expect 
a hasty despatch; and, in the course of his tireless 
travels amidst populations that were being ravaged 
by plagues and pestilences, he was laid low again 
and again. More than once he gave specific in- 
structions concerning the burial of his body. But 
each time he rose from his fevered couch and con- 
tinued his tireless pilgrimage. He passed from 
country to country with as little concern as some men 
feel in passing from village to village. He learned 
language after language in order that he might 
preach the Word in every hole and corner of the 


248 A Bunch of Everlastings 

earth. He stood before Emperors and Kings, speak- 
ing to crowned heads with the naturalness and ease 
with which he addressed the children at home. He 
found his way into prisons and workhouses; into 
slave camps and thieves' kitchens ; he lost no oppor- 
tunity of preaching to all kinds and conditions of 
men the words of everlasting life. His is one of 
the most remarkable evangelistic careers on record. 


He yearned to live as long as Methuselah; but 
he discovered that he could live longer still. That 
discovery is, in a word, the explanation of his life. 
Let him tell his own story. 'One evening,' he says, 
*I was walking in the fields alone, my mind being 
under no kind of religious concern, nor in the least 
excited by anything I had heard or thought of.' 
Suddenly, explain it how you may, the solitudes of 
that vast American forest declined any longer to 
be dumb. They became vocal with wondrous speech. 
The wayward winds and the rustling leaves were all 
whispering and caroling and shouting and echoing 
the same wonderful word. T was arrested,' he says, 
*by what seemed to be an awful voice proclaiming 
the word, "Eternity! Eternity! Eternity!" It 
reached my very soul — my whole man shook — it 
brought me, like Saul, to the ground. The great 
depravity and sinfulness of my heart were set open 
before me. . . . After this, I spent most of my time 

Stephen Grellet's Text 249 

in retirement. I began to read the Bible. O, what 
sweetness did I then feel! It was indeed a memo- 
rable day. I was like one introduced into a new 
world; the creation, and all things around me, bore 
a different aspect — my heart glowed with love to all. 
The awfulness of that visitation can never cease to 
be remembered with peculiar interest and gratitude, 
as long as I have the use of my mental faculties. I 
have been as one plucked from a burning house — 
rescued from the brink of a horrible pit! . . . How 
can I set forth the fullness of heavenly joy that filled 
me? I saw that there was One that was able to 
save me. I saw Him to be the Lamb of God that 
taketh away the sins of the world. I felt faith in 
His atoning blood. Floods of tears of joy and 
gratitude gave vent to the fullness of my heart!* 
And all through one word — 'a. word that reached 
my very soul, shook my whole man, and brought me 
to the ground! — that word Eternity!' 






The very word is the stateliest cathedral of 
human speech. It is the transcendent triumph of 
articulation. It stands among the few real sub- 
limities of our vocabulary. It is one of those mag- 
nificences of language that defy all definition, one 

250 A Bunch of Everlastings 

of those splendours of expression that leave nothing 
to be said. 

Oh, the clanging bells of Time! 

How their changes rise and fall; 
But in undertone sublime, 

Sounding clearly through them all 
Is a voice that must be heard, 

As our moments onward flee; 
And it speaketh aye one word, — 

Eternity ! Eternity ! 

That insistent voice is the voice that Stephen 
Grellet heard in the leafy solitudes that memorable 
evening. 'Eternity! Eternity! Eternity!' The 
word falls upon the ear like the booming of the 
ocean on the crags along the coast. It rings and 
echoes and reverberates and resounds through all the 
intricate avenues and the tortuous corridors of the 
soul. The whole being trembles at its utterance as 
the abbey shudders to the organ's diapason. Every 
faculty is awed into stillness ; the soul is hushed into 
worship. The word has all the music of the spheres 
within its syllables; and, when it has been spoken, 
all attempts at amplification or explanation become 
pitiful impertinences. 




The classic use of the word occurs in Mrs. Beecher 

Stephen Grellet's Text 251 

Stowe's historic masterpiece. Poor Uncle Tom, 
having fallen into the hands of the wretched and 
brutal Legree, had been thrashed within an inch of 
his life. He lay bleeding, and writhing in anguish, 
in the old slave-shed. But his soul was not in the 
shed. For, as the solemn light of dawn — the an- 
gelic glory of the morning star — looks in through 
the rude window, Tom thinks of the Bright and 
Morning Star. He ponders on' the Great White 
Throne, with its ever-radiant rainbow; the white- 
robed multitude, with voices as many waters; the 
crowns, the palms, the harps; these may all break 
upon his vision before that sun shall set again. And, 
therefore, without shuddering or trembling, he hears 
the voice of his persecutor : 

'How would ye like to be tied to a tree, and have 
a slow fire lit up around ye ?' asks Legree. 'Wouldn't 
that be pleasant, eh, Tom ?' 

'Mas'r, says Tom, *I know ye can do dreadful 
things, but' — he stretched himself upward and 
clasped his hands — 'but after ye've killed the body, 
there ain't no more ye can do. And, oh ! there's all 
Eternity to come after that !' 


'Eternity!^ exclaims Mrs. Beecher Stowe, 'the 
word thrills through the black man's soul with light 
and power as he utters it ; it thrills through the sin- 
ner's soul, too, like the bite of a scorpion.' 



353 A Bunch of Everlastings 



It is one of the overpowering immensities of our 
faith, and we preachers must make the most of it. 
The people are sick and tired of trifles. The day 
of catch-penny titles and silly subjects is as dead as 
the dodo. It ought never to have dawned. It is a 
page in church history over which every true minis- 
ter of the New Testament will blush whenever he 
comes upon it. The man who announces as his theme 
a subject that is beneath the dignity of the eternal 
harmonies can never have heard the music of the 
choir invisible. He can never have seen the Lord 
high and lifted up. He can never have heard the 
seraphs that cry continually : 'Holy, Holy, Holy is 
the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His 
glory!* The lips that have been touched with the 
glowing coal from the altar can never again be lent 
to ecclesiastical frivolity. It is wrong ; it is wicked ; 
it is shameful. And, to quote a famous but sinister 
phrase, 'it is not only a crime, it is a blunder.' For 
the people are impatient of trivialities. The hearts 
of men are hungry for the most stupendous themes. 
They like great preaching. The big subjects draw 
the big crowds. Little children amidst city squalor 
love to put the sea-shells to their ears because in them 
they catch the murmur of fathomless seas and limit- 
less oceans; and children of a larger growth turn 

Stephen Grellet's Text 253 

from much that is sordid in their environment to the 
preacher who helps them to hear the music of the 


Eternity ! 




The best illustration of my theme occurs in the 
life of Dr. Thomas Chalmers. It is a dramatic page 
in a wonderful spiritual experience. Let me briefly 
marshal the facts. As a mere boy, having matricu- 
lated at twelve, become a divinity student at fifteen, 
and been licensed to preach at nineteen, Chalmers 
becomes a minister at Kilmany. He devotes himself 
to mathematics. On Sundays he thunders to decent 
Presbyterians against murder and adultery; and 
during the week he seeks to prepare himself to suc- 
ceed Professor Playfair in the Mathematical Chair 
of Edinburgh University. He writes a pamphlet, in 
which he says : 'The author of this pamphlet can 
assert from what to him is the highest of all au- 
thority — the authority of his own experience — 
that, after the satisfactory discharge of his 
parish duties, a minister may enjoy five days in 
the week of uninterrupted leisure for the prosecu- 
tion of any science in which his taste may 
dispose him to engage.' Then follow his illness, 
his marvellous conversion, and his new minis- 

254 A Bunch of Everlastings 

try. Has Scotland ever known a life more 
rich in spiritual influence or more fruitful of evan- 
gelistic fervour? And in the course of that historic 
ministry, in a debate before the General Assembly 
of the Church of Scotland, Chalmers' early pamphlet 
is quoted in support of the low views it advocates. 
Chalmers is stung to the quick. He rises and makes 
one of his very greatest speeches. And, in closing, 
he exclaims : 'Yes, sir, I penned it, strangely blinded 
that I was! I aspired in those days to be a pro- 
fessor of mathematics. But what, sir, is the object 
of mathematical science? Magnitude, and the pro- 
portion of magnitude ! But in those days, sir, I had 
forgotten two magnitudes — I thought not of the 
littleness of Time, and I recklessly thought not of 
the greatness of Eternity!' 

Eternity ! 





I recently took a long, long railway journey. 
Through a thousand miles of civilisation, a thousand 
miles of desert, and a thousand miles of bush, the 
train bore me to a part of this vast continent in 
which I found myself surrounded by trees that were 
entirely new to me, and by flowers such as I had 
never seen before. I freely expressed my admira- 
tion, and, when the time came to commence my 

Stephen Grellet's Text 255 

homeward journey, I found among the mementoes 
with which I was presented a beautiful bunch of 
everlastings. A Bunch of Everlastings! It seems 
to me I have this morning been gathering just such 
a bouquet. Here is Stephen Grellet Hstening to the 
great word that rings through the silence of the 
forest, 'Eternity! Eternity! Eternity!' Here is 
Uncle Tom uttering the same word with strange 
and wonderful effects: 'Eternity!' Here is Dr. 
Chalmers confessing that the mistakes of his life 
lay in his forgetting the greatness of Eternity! The 
list could be indefinitely continued; the valleys are 
full of everlastings. 'That night,' says Ebenezer 
Erskine, in recording in the pages of his diary the 
greatest spiritual crisis that he ever knew, 'that 
night I got my head out of Time into Eternity!' 
'The vastness of the word Eternity was impressed 
upon me,' says Andrew Bonar in his diary; and, 
a few months later, he says again, 'I strive to keep 
the feeling of Eternity always before me !' 'Gentle- 
men,' exclaims old Rabbi Duncan to his students as 
he dismisses them at the end of the year's work, 
'many will be wishing you a Happy New Year. 
Your old tutor wishes you a happy Eternity!' 
Eternity ! 




256 A Bunch of Everlastings 

It is good, as Stephen Grellet discovered on that 
memorable evening, to wander at times into the 
fields and the forests. To-day I have been out into 
the fields that are boundless, and, as the fruits of 
my stroll, I have brought back — 

A Bunch of Everlastings ! 


This book is 


uader bo circumstances to be 
en from tbe Building 

3UL 2J. 1920 
11. I n^n 

JUL? 3 \97V 
IIJL 2 fi iQ9n . 


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